Crises occur when the social formation
can no longer be reproduced on the basis of the
pre-existing system of social relations.
—Stuart Hall
In its relatively short history theword ‘‘reproduction’’ has
a variety of meanings. Today it is bandied about in disc
on topics as wide-ranging as Marxist theory and photoco
chines, sound systems and human cloning. When dates
EnglishDictionary, a trajectory emerges in its transformati
time. First used as a synonym for ‘‘resurrection’’ by seven
century theologians, in the eighteenth century ‘‘reproducti
grated from the religious realm to the secular, coming int
within the emergent field of natural
Initially ‘‘re
tion’’ replaced the term ‘‘regeneration,’’ especially of lim
other bodily appendages. It was not, however, until the lat
of the eighteenth century that ‘‘reproduction’’ was decisi
tached to the notion of species reproduction—the sense
production,’’ biological and sexual, that became pervasiv
nineteenth and early twentieth centuries, and that so co
the transatlanticwriters, intellectuals, and pundits whom I
this book.
Although the Oxford English Dictionary’s entry on ‘‘re
tion’’ can be mined to reveal permutations in the term’s
what it cannot convey—invested as it is in the productio
own authority and thus its distance from social, econom
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