Madelaine Moore

Contact Details




ICDD Kassel, Germany

PhD Project Title

Reproductive unrest: Struggles over water through the lens of social reproduction theory

Abstract of PhD Thesis

My project explores contemporary struggles over water through the lens of social reproduction feminism (SRF). I propose that social movements, as moments of collective contestation, provide an important entry and vantage point to the study of our current conjuncture of neoliberal capitalism. Broadly speaking, current critical studies of the (post)-crisis world tend to be either top-down studies on hegemony exploring how capitalism survived, ignoring the numerous social movement that occurred, or they fall into social movement studies and tend to lack a systematic theory of capitalist relations (there are obviously some exceptions). To fill these gaps and bring these two schools of thought into coversation I outline how a theoretical framework based on social reproduction feminism and a claim of internal relations can situate such struggles as an entry point to unpacking our current conjuncture.

I argue that there are certain tendencies that neoliberal capitalist relations – especially post crisis – have sharpened such as the contradiction between social reproduction and accumulation strategies, the exhaustion of the environment and political (or legitimation) crises. Social movements that are centred on water tend to capture these dynamics, with water being both a crucial input to production and space of potential accumulation but also central to life itself. Many of these movements have been successful and/or mobilised people in novel and expressive ways. This, I want to suggest, is because in contestation over water more than its mere use is at stake. At issue is the question of how we are to survive, or, more specifically, who should survive under conditions of neoliberal capital, as well as questions about democratic decision-making, community control and the legitimate use of scarce resources. I suggest that the recent struggles over water are paradigmatic of our contemporary conjuncture and stuyding them can add to our understanding of the broader social whole. However, to fully capture this relationship necessitates an analytical framework that highlights the relations between things rather than separates them from one another. SRF, via it’s claims of internal relations, and a non-additive social whole, demands a different way of studying social movements – placing it in relation to, and studying it through, the whole and the whole through it. The case of the Irish Water Charges Protests and the Anti-Fracking movement in Australia are used as case studies.

Area of Interest

Critical political economy, social reproduction feminism, social movement studies, water politics

Educational Background


Master of Labour Policies and Globalization, Kassel University/Berlin School of Law and Economics, Germany


Bachelor of Arts (Honours in political science), Melbourne University, Australia


Bachelor of International Relations, Latrobe University, Australia


Diploma of Languages, Latrobe University, Australia

Professional Experience


Researcher (Contracr) Rosa Luxemburg Stiftung, Brussels

since 2017

Managing Editor, Global Social Policy Journal


Researcher (Contract), Fredrich Ebert Stiftung


Tutor and seminar development, Kassel University


Field Organiser, Community and Public Sector Union, Australia


Research Assistant, Melbourne University, Monash University

Social/Political Activities

  • Active Trade Union Member



Rosa Luxemburg Stiftung PhD scholarship


European Sociological Association PhD Workshop and Funding


Rosa Luxemburg Stiftung Scholarship for international Masters students


Latrobe University Excellence Scholarship


  • Moore, M. Trommer, S. (Article under review), Critical Europeans in an Age of Crisis
  • Moore, M, Trommer, S. (forthcoming 2020), Irish Public Protest Since the Crisis: What role for the EU? In Ireland and the EU in a Changing World: Brexit, Crisis and Populism Eds. Kathryn Simpson and Michael Holmes, Manchester University Press
  • Moore, M. Engelhardt, A., 2019: A constant tug of war: Neoliberalism and social unrest in (post)-crisis Ireland and Portugal. In: Kiess, J., Seeliger, M. (Eds.): Trade Unions under the Pressure of European Integration. A Question of Optimism and Pessimism? London: Routledge
  • Moore, M. 2019 Wellsprings of Resistance: Struggles Over Water in Europe, Rosa Luxemburg Foundation, Brussels.
  • Moore, M. Engelhardt, A., (2017): Moving beyond the toolbox: Providing social movement studies with a materialist dialectical lens. In: momentum Quarterly Zeitschrift für Sozialen Fortschritt, 6 (4), 270–288.
  • Moore, M. 2017, ‘The enforcement of workers’ rights through conditional or promotional trade agreements: A Comparison of US and EU social chapters.’ In ed. Scherrer, C. Enforcement Instruments for Social Human Rights along Supply Chains, Labour and Gloablization, Rainer Hampp Verlag, Germany
  • Moore, M. 2017, ‘Conditional or Promotional Tade Agreements – is Enforcement Possible?’ Core Labour Standards Plus Study, Friedrich Ebert Stiftung, Berlin


  • 2019 Reboot Republic
  • 2019 Progress in Political Economy Blog, ‘Wellsprings of Resistance’
  • 2019 Trade Unions and Global Restructuring, ‘Wellsprings of Resistance’

Organised Workshops/conferences:

  • Critical Pedagogy Workshop, Manchester University, 7th December 2018, £450 from Equality and Diversity team and Global Political Economy Research Cluster
  • Rosa Luxemburg Stiftung, Marx 200, May 2018, Workshop: Social Movements and Class
  • Critical Perspectives on Social Movements Conference, Kassel, 20-21 July 2017
  • Manchester/Kassel University Exchange workshop: The Future of Labour, Manchester University

Organised conference panels:

  • International Sociological Association, July 2020, Porto Alegre:  “Capitalist Expansion and Resistance: The Struggle over Water.”
  • SASE, mid-term conference, June 27-29 2019, The New School, New York: “Social Movements and the Capitalist State: Institutionalization or Critiquing Institutions?”
  • Historical Materialism, London, November 2017: “Historical materialist perspective on social movements as struggle.”

Public Lectures:

  • Book Launch “Wellsprings of Resistance: Struggles over water in Europe”, Liberty Hall, Dublin, 12 November 2019
  • Marx 200 Ringvorlesung, Kassel University, May 6th 2018, Social Reproduction Theory
  • Nottingham, October 8th 2018, Centre for the Study of Social and Global Justice, “Fighting for Public Water: The Case of Ireland” with Andreas Bieler.
  • 15th November 2018, Manchester University: Reproductive Unrest: the emergence of public protest in Ireland, Global Political Economy Research Cluster and Sociology, Movements Research Cluster.

Conference Papers:

  • Australian International Political Economy Network Workshop, University of Sydney, 6-7 February, 2020: ‘Liquid Gold: The reconfiguration of social reproduction through Water Grabbing in Australia and Ireland.’
  • Bringing Life's Work to Market Symposium, University of Auckland, 16-17 December 2019: ‘Liquid Gold: The reconfiguration of social reproduction through Water Grabbing in Australia and Ireland.’
  • SASE, The New School, New York, June 27-29 2019: “Reproductive Unrest: the emergence of public protest in Ireland”
  • Alternative Futures and Popular Protest, Manchester University, Manchester, April 15-17, 2019: “Re/productive Unrest: The Emergence of Public Protest in Ireland”
  • Historical Materialism Australasia, The University of Sydney, 13-14 December, 2018: “Re/productive Unrest: The Emergence of Public Protest in Ireland”
  • ISA, Toronto, July 2018: “Moving beyond the toolbox: Providing social movement studies with a materialist dialectical lens” and “More than an environmental movement?: The anti-fracking campaign in Australia”
  • CPERN Conference, June 1-2, 2018, Lisbon: ‘Locking the gate to limited analysis: A working class in formation through “environmental” politics’
  • IIPPE, Berlin, September 2017
  • With Anne Engelhardt: “A constant tug of war: Neoliberalism and social unrest in (post)-crisis Europe”
  • Historical Materialism, London, November 2017 
  •  “Reproductive unrest: neoliberalism and social unrest in (post)-crisis Europe”
  • ESA conference, Athens August 2017.
  • RN (d) 25: with Anne Engelhardt: Where is it kicking off?: Integrating materialist state theory into contemporary social movement studies.
  • RN 06 Does the world need a jolt? A critical approach to contemporary social movements and their relationship to authoritarian neoliberalism.
  • Critical Perspectives on Social Movements, July 2017, Kassel
  • “Common Ground: studying water-based social movements under neoliberalism”
  • Alternative Futures 2017 - April 2017:  “A critical social movement theory: Dynamics and conjunctions of social movements as class struggles, outlining a theoretical framework for a way forward”
  • 11th Global Labour University Conference South Africa - October 2016 “The Contradictions Underpinning the Relation of Nature and Labour: An Empirical Study of the (lack of) relationship between anti-fracking movement and Trade Unions in Australia”
  • Critical Political Economy Research Network Mid-term Conference Ljubljana - May 2016 “Are ontological differences enough? Ontology and praxis in pre-figurative politics.”
  • 9th Global Labour University Conference Berlin - May 2014 “Maintaining Reciprocity: the ins and outs of Unionism” which explores the possibility and importance of developing a transnational unionism rather than a global solidarity.