Another Turn of the Screw : The COVID-19 Crisis and the Reinforced Separation of Capital and Care

Rojas Scheffer, Raquel

In most Latin American countries, the upper and middle classes tend to meet their care needs through the market, resorting to options such as private schools and care centres, as well as the labour of domestic workers. However, these practices were affected by the COVID-19 pandemic and its containment measures. Drawing on a series of interviews with employers of domestic workers in Paraguay, this paper analyses the changes in convivial relations and arrangements regarding the distribution of care within households that outsource domestic chores and had to adapt to lockdown measures. By doing so, I seek to highlight not only changes in the routine of family members but also the exacerbation of inequalities regarding the social organisation of care, and the discourses provided for justifying and naturalising these inequalities. I argue that while at first glance, lockdown measures seemed to have contested the separation of the world of work and family, they produced a rebound effect that translated into a reinforced separation of capital and care, expressed through a deepening of the privatisation, feminisation and commodification of care.


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Rojas Scheffer, Raquel: Another Turn of the Screw. The COVID-19 Crisis and the Reinforced Separation of Capital and Care. São Paulo 2022. The Maria Sibylla Merian Centre Conviviality-Inequality in Latin America (Mecila).

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