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Labours of Love: Helen Hester & Sarah Jaffe

Helen Hester and Sarah Jaffe join Eleanor Penny to discuss the care crisis, and how we might organise care differently for a more equitable and free future.

13 July 2023

Labours of Love: Helen Hester & Sarah Jaffe

Listen to the Verso Podcast on your preferred podcast platform.

VersoBooks · Labours of Love | Helen Hester & Sarah Jaffe


In the latest episode of The Verso Podcast, Helen Hester and Sarah Jaffe join our host Eleanor Penny. Together, they put care under the microscope, thinking about how we might free love from the drudgery of work, and how we can face up to the current crisis in our care systems - which looks set to worsen as our population ages and climate breakdown intensifies.

Sarah Jaffe is an author and journalist who has written for The New York Times, the Guardian, The Nation, and many other outlets. She is the author of the books ’Necessary Trouble: Americans in Revolt’, and ‘Work Won’t Love You Back: How Devotion to our Jobs Keeps Us Exploited, Exhausted, and Alone’.

Helen Hester is a professor of gender, technology and cultural politics at the University of West London, and a member of the international working group Laboria Cuboniks. She is the author of books including, ‘Beyond Explicit: Pornography and the Displacement of Sex’, ‘Xenofeminism’, and most recently ‘After Work: A History of the Home and the Fight for Free Time’ - that last title co-authored with Nick Srnicek, and published this month by Verso Books.

As greater and greater swathes of so-called ‘developed’ economies come to be taken up by caring industries, Helen and Sarah examine the family and the home, as well as the naturalisation of such spaces, as sites of work - both waged and unwaged. Together they tease out how such formations of love and socially reproductive labour are not only heavily racialised and gendered, but also overlap and are entangled with punishing border systems, migration regimes, and shoddy gig contracts. They also look to the future, considering how we might loosen the grip of domestic realism, and reorganise care with an eye to human flourishing.

Don’t forget to subscribe now wherever you get your podcasts to make sure you don’t miss any of the exciting shows we have lined up over the coming months, featuring some of the world’s leading activists, scholars, and thinkers.

On our next episode Gargi Battacharya and Nancy Fraser will be joining Eleanor Penny to discuss some of the themes covered in Fraser’s book Cannibal Capitalism, so make sure to tune in for what promises to be an enlightening discussion between two ground-breaking thinkers.

See all Verso Podcast episodes here. Listen via your preferred podcast platform.


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After Work
Does it ever feel like you have no free time? You come home after work and instead of finding a space of rest and relaxation, you're confronted by a pile of new tasks to complete – cooking, cleanin...

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