University of Hertfordshire

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The Hassle of Housework: Digitalisation and the Commodification of Domestic Labour

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  • Ursula Huws
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Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)8-23
Number of pages16
JournalFeminist Review
Early online date10 Dec 2019
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 10 Dec 2019


This article revisits materialist second wave feminist debates about domestic labour in the context of digitalisation. Using a differentiated typology of labour it looks at how the tasks involved in housework have undergone dramatic changes through commodification, decommodification and recommodification without fundamentally altering the gender division of labour in social reproduction, drawing on recent research on the use of online platforms to deliver social reproductive labour via the market in a context in which reproductive labour sits at the centre of an intense time squeeze. It reflects on the implications the commodification of domestic labour for feminist strategy. The author points to the inadequacy in this context of traditional feminist strategies: for the socialisation of domestic labour through public services; wages for housework; or labour-saving through technological solutions, concluding that new strategies are needed that address the underlying social relations that perpetuate unequal divisions of labour in contemporary capitalism.


© 2019 The Author(s) .The final, definitive version of this paper has been published in Feminist Review by Sage Publications Ltd. All rights reserved. It is available at:

ID: 16676577