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Social Reproduction Theory and the Socialist Horizon by Jaffe Aaron;

Social Reproduction Theory and the Socialist Horizon by Jaffe Aaron;

Author:Jaffe, Aaron;
Language: eng
Format: epub
Publisher: Pluto Press


Collins’ matrices are scalable to the point of universality, and specifiable down to the particular violences suffered by different groups of people. Though centered on the Black women in the US, Collins’ theoretical principles can flesh out matrices of domination worldwide.14 If we accept that the US, Senegal, and the UK all relate to and influence each other—though, of course, given the histories of imperialism and colonialism not in equal ways—then fully grasping the scope of oppression requires including, but also thinking beyond the bounded nature of nation-states. For these wider, indeed globally structured and reproduced oppressions, we would need to use an internationalist framework.

At every part of their possible range, Collins’ matrices also evolve and develop in new ways. For instance, a nested matrix like that appropriate to African American women is not posited as a simple fact, but as historically unfolding. What US African American women’s oppression looks like today shares some consistencies with but is also significantly different from what it looked like during the period of reconstruction. Layered matrices of domination are complex, unstable structures that can help us think the varied and varying forms of domination appropriate to any level of social analysis.

Matrices of oppression inform the scope, nature, and direction of people’s potentials and capacities in uneven and specifiable ways.15 In this way, matrices of domination are not external impositions. They are constituted in part through the constrained powers of those within them. Each matrix of domination is likewise constituted within and encompassed by overlapping matrices and is linked to other matrices internally produced in similar ways. This continues all the way up the scale to a global matrix and its totality. In other words, this theory opposes mechanical notions of harm stemming from a crude notion of independent intersecting forces. In this intersectional account of a relationally determined totality, Collins’ theory can be understood as comprised of stacked, scalable, and self-constituting matrices of domination.

What does it mean to say that these matrices of domination are self-constituting? Collins argues that matrices hold themselves in place, and are the causes of their own evolution. As such, matrices of domination are organizations of our power, which exists in some form no matter how oppressed anyone is. In other words, for Collins too, we all have some powers even if in contorted, diminished, or socially under-recognized ways. This is crucial because it means even the most dominated have the power to see, name, actively respond to, and link up with others in fighting their dominations. Collins writes:

As people push against, step away from, and shift the terms of their participation in power relations, the shape of power relations changes for everyone. Like individual subjectivity, resistance strategies and power are always multiple and in constant states of change … domination and resistance shape and are shaped by individual agency.16



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