Social Reproduction Theory in the Academic Library: Understanding the Implications of Socially Reproductive Labor as Labor
Traditional Marxist and Postmodern theories have been very useful in describing the library’s ideological role within society, however they both lack an ability to explain why the library came into its current existence in a capitalist society and why it has such staying power in an increasingly privatized and performance driven society. The development of Social Reproduction Theory provides a window to begin explaining the historic development of libraries and the role they have come to play. This article looks to begin introducing an application of Social Reproduction Theory that can contextualize libraries as important components of a global capitalist system. This approach centers the labor conducted by librarians, and other socially reproductive workers, as crucial to the functioning of modern capitalism. Ultimately, this can mean new approaches to the librarian-patron relationship and new implications for library advocacy and leadership.