The Law of Diminishing Returns:

Precarity and Nonreproduction in the Fall


  • Sean O'Brien Honorary Research Fellow, Department of English, Theatre and Creative writing, Brikbeck, University of London, UK



precarity, nonreproduction, austerity, gender, the child


The essay examines the representation of precarity in the BBC two series, The Fall (2013-), starring Gillian Anderson as detective superitendent Stella Gibson and Jamie Dornan as serial killer as Paul Spector. In the series, institutions of social reproduction are reaveled to be sclerotic, examplified not only in the austerity policies of fiscally insolvent national governments but also in the family and the couple, social forms integral to a system of crises management that depends upon feminized reproductive work. Here, precarity emerges as a double bind: a reproductive crisis that would seem to demand a doubling down, a renewed investment in the very systems of accumulation and control that underwright its proliferation. This essay argues that the representation of such contradictory logic should not be mistaken for some failure of the imagination, but should instead be recognized as an expression of a crisis in the reproduction of the capitalist class relation as it is mediated accross the social field. 




How to Cite

O’Brien , S. (2020). The Law of Diminishing Returns:: Precarity and Nonreproduction in the Fall . Crossings: A Journal of English Studies, 11(1), 82–97.