The Left Reflects on the Global Pandemic: Nancy Fraser

transform! Webinar

Watch the transform! webinar: Nancy Fraser interviewed by Haris Golemis – or listen to the recording as podcast.


Full Video



Podcast series in cooperation with Austrian left-wing platform Mosaik.


To Nancy Fraser, the management of the COVID-19 pandemic represents further proof of the decline of the United States as a world power. The strategy chosen by the Trump administration, to deal with this crisis, has clearly failed. However, Fraser argues, that to understand why, we need a deeper analysis of the structural and systemic features of US capitalism. The idea, that getting rid of Donald Trump would automatically solve these issues, is too simplistic.

For her analysis, Fraser goes on to explain the concept of Social Reproduction. She describes it, as a set of activities and capacities in society, that are necessary to produce, reproduce and replenish the human population. This includes the ability to have a healthy, informed, culturally endowed, skilled and educated population. Beyond literal biological reproduction, this includes care – raising children and caring for the elderly. But also care in the sense of the replenishment of adults in the prime of life and in the workforce, who have to be fed, who have to be rested, who have to have emotional solace when they are discouraged and who need to feel connectedness. Social Reproduction does not take place exclusively in private households. It involves all communities’ activities, neighborhoods, networks and friendship. Throughout history, this work of social reproduction, was never sharply disconnected from other work of production of food or material objects. In capitalism however, the work of production has been separated from the work of social reproduction.

No production without reproduction.

Fraser also observes, that in the pandemic we are witnessing the centrality of the distributive work. The workers at Amazon, UPS, FedEx, in grocery stores and super markets, are willingly exposed to danger and, in the midst of the pandemic, declared to be “essential workers”. In this moment, the work of social reproduction becomes visible. There is no production without social reproduction and vice versa.

Nancy Fraser, professor of philosophy and politics at the New School for Social Research in New York. She works on social and political theory, feminist theory, and contemporary French and German thought. As an Einstein fellow at the John F. Kennedy Institute of the Free University of Berlin, she also holds the chair in social justice at the Collège d’Etudes Mondiales, Paris. In winter 2014, she was visiting professor of gender studies at Cambridge University. Her most recent books are Fortunes of Feminism: From State-Managed Capitalism to Neoliberal Crisis (Verso, 2013), Capitalism: A Conversation in Critical Theory (Polity, 2018), co-authored with Rahel Jaeggi, and Feminism for the 99%: A Manifesto (Verso, 2019), co-authored with Cinzia Arruzza and Tithi Bhattacharya.
interviewed by
Haris Golemis, Greek economist who worked at the Research Department of the Bank of Greece. Golemis was scientific advisor to the Federation of Greek Bank Employees and consultant to the United Nations Centre on Transnational Corporations. A political activist since his early youth, former member of the Political Secretariat and the Central Committee of Syriza and former director of the Nicos Poulantzas Institute (1999-2017). He is now Scientific and Strategic Advisor to the Board of transform! europe and Chief Editor of the transform! Yearbook.
moderated by
Angelina Giannopoulou
, facilitator of transform! europe


transform! europe, the European network of political foundations and thinks tanks of the radical left, presents a series of interviews with left-wing thinkers to discuss these crucial issues and plan for the future we want to build. They will take place via Zoom and are open to the public on registration. In the second half of the interview, the audience can pose questions in written form via a Q&A box to the invited speaker!