Family, Welfare and the State: Between Progressivism and the New Deal

Regular price $ 16.00

by Mariarosa Dalla Costa, Foreword by Sylvia Federici

Common Notions

9/7/2021, paperback (2nd edition)

SKU: 9781942173533


“Dalla Costa shows that with the New Deal, the state began to plan the ‘social factory’—that is, the home, the family, the school, and above all women’s labor, on which the productivity and pacification of industrial relations was made to rest.” —Silvia Federici

A groundbreaking study, Family, Welfare, and the State offers a comprehensive reading of the welfare system through the dynamics of women’s resistance and class struggle. Mariarosa Dalla Costa, a key figure in the International Wages for Housework campaigns, highlights how the New Deal concretized the central role of women and the family in ensuring the capacity for economic growth and the reproduction of labor power necessary for the maintenance of capitalism.

As social movements fight for and secure government relief for mass unemployment in a way not seen for decades, it is essential to understand how the deals—especially governing race, class, and family relations—struck by earlier generations of activists have shaped our world. A new foreword makes clear Dalla Costa’s importance to understanding the functioning of social reproduction in a world ravaged by COVID-19.


 “This is the perfect moment to revisit Mariarosa Dalla Costa’s groundbreaking study. In the aftermath of a calamitous pandemic that dealt women a particularly devastating blow, the concepts of social reproduction and care work have finally entered the political mainstream. Family, Welfare, and the State brilliantly analyzes the conditions and ideology that shaped New Deal reforms, acutely alert to both their possibilities and limitations. This is essential reading as we push to continue the work of our radical feminist forebears.” -Astra Taylor, author of Remake the World: Essays, Reflections, Rebellions

“Through the prism of working-class self-organization, Mariarosa Dalla Costa traces the historical development of the welfare state in the United States. She details the ways in which the family was instituted as the basic unit of social organization and the role bestowed upon women in the reproduction of labor power. Widening the lens, Dalla Costa maps the broader configurations of gender, race, and class that the welfare state was built upon to reveal its systematic exclusions. Family, Welfare, and the State is an important book for a time when we confront the fallout of neoliberal restructuring. Against nostalgia, the current challenge is not to return to the past, but to struggle for a better future.” -Emma Dowling, author of The Care Crisis: What Caused It and How Can We End It?

About the Author:

Mariarosa Dalla Costa is an influential feminist author and activist, whose seminal book The Power of Women and the Subversion of the Community, coauthored with Selma James, is a keystone of social reproductive theory and the Wages for Housework campaign. She is also co-author of Our Mother Ocean and editor of Gynocide.

Silvia Federici is the author of Caliban and the Witch and Revolution at Point Zero and editor of Feminicide and Global Accumulation among other books.