Reproduction (sociology)

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In sociology, reproduction is understood in connection with social systems ( social reproduction ) in addition to the creation of new ones as well as the maintenance of a state ( reproduction of the status quo in, in principle, dynamic systems).

Production and reproduction

First of all, reproduction can be seen as the maintenance of existing social and economic conditions - these do not simply continue to exist, but have to be constantly reproduced through work . In the Marxist tradition, reproduction is understood to mean the constant creation of new conditions for further production . H. of labor and means of production , but also of knowledge . “Simple reproduction” refers to the constant restoration of the basis for continuing production to the same extent, “extended reproduction” the establishment of the basis for production on a larger scale (“on an extended scale”). Correspondingly, the reproduction of social inequality , relationships of power and domination , class structures, etc. is also spoken of. The education and training system is an important medium of social reproduction , the reproduction of social structures .

Demographics and Reproduction

In demography , reproduction refers to the maintenance of the population through the creation of offspring (births), or , from a biological point of view, reproduction or reproduction . Here, reproductive behavior is related to the reproductive or childbearing behavior. In a narrower sense, the reproduction of a population is understood to mean that the population continues in roughly the same number, i.e. the losses can be compensated for by new births - in this case the net reproduction rate is 1.

The reproductive sphere

Another use of the term is derived from the reproduction of labor in this first meaning, but it also processes impulses from demography. Here the reproductive sphere is understood as a whole as a social space separated from the production sphere . Reproductive work then includes activities that lie outside the immediate production sphere, in particular the restoration and maintenance of labor, both on an individual and on a social level. In particular, child care, care and upbringing as well as housework and family work are considered reproductive activities - jobs that were traditionally attributed to women. In this meaning the term reflects a real historical development, namely the increasing spatial and temporal separation between work / production and privacy / reproduction with the advent of industrial society and above all Fordism .


  • Pierre Bourdieu , Jean-Claude Passeron : La reproduction. Elements for a theory of system d'Enseignement. Minuit, Paris 1970. German in: Pierre Bourdieu, Jean-Claude Passeron The illusion of equal opportunities . Klett, Stuttgart 1971