Csilla Klenyánszki: Childcare Crisis: The Unequal Nature of Commodified Childcare Arrangements: The Netherlands and the United States

 

Advisor/tutor: Ghalya Saadawi

June 2021

Abstract

In this thesis I analyse the ways in which the current, partially-privatised childcare arena fails to provide accessible and inclusive childcare provision for parents and children, and the ways in which current financialised capitalism undervalues caregivers and care workers. Starting from the origin of formalised childcare in the late 19th century in Europe and in the United States I examine traditional childcare arrangements and how these are tied to maternal employment, social class and race. The thesis looks into the tension and mutual constitution between productive and reproductive work from a Marxists feminist perspective. Drawing from my own experiences, I analyze the individualised and unequal nature of childcare provision, be that formal or informal. I introduce alternative modes of childcare arrangements, such as childcare collectives, which are being initiated as a result but also as a protest against the commodification, privatization and inaccessibility of childcare provision, with a hope that “social reproduction around care and care work can be transformed into revolutionary activity.”1 Is it possible to create a system that is universal, accessible, and nurturing for both children, parents and caregivers? A system with a principle of collective solidarity and as an extension to the limited private family unit?