New Constitutionalism and the Social Reproduction of Caring Institutions
Theoretical Medicine and Bioethics 2006; 27(1): 35-57
This essay analyzes neo-liberal economic agreements and legal and political frameworks or what has been called the "new constitutionalism," a governance framework that empowers market forces to reshape economic and social development worldwide. The article highlights some consequences of new constitutionalism for caring institutions specifically, and for what feminists call social reproduction more generally: the biological reproduction of the species; the reproduction of labor power; and the reproduction of social institutions and processes associated with the creation and maintenance of communities. New constitutional governance frameworks fundamentally reshape conditions under which the care of human beings takes place. Caring institutions once governed by enabling professions geared to universal care are now determined increasingly by market values and private forces, and driven directly by the profit motive. This is one of the reasons why neo-liberalism is increasingly contested in both the North and the global South.
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