Publication Date


Document Type

Working Paper


Professor John Hall

Journal of Economic Literature Classification Codes

B11, B14, B24, B51, B54, D63, N13, N33, Z13

Key Words

Primitive Accumulation, Sylvia Federici, David Graeber, David Harvey, Michele Foucault, Feudal Crisis, Price Revolution, Feminism, Primordial Debt, Holy Roman Inquisition, Bio-power, Social Reproduction


This inquiry seeks to establish that the process of commons-enclosure taking place in 14th-16th century Europe also required an “enclosure” of the female body, which was carried out by introducing radically novel conceptions of debt. The dual processes of bodily dispossession and debt imposition acted as a single force which is paradoxically the origin and effect of capitalist accumulation. This process began in Europe during the period of “transition” between feudalism and capitalism but has remained an essential component of capitalist accumulation through to globalization in contemporary times. To support this thesis, this inquiry considers the evolution of debt; the enclosure of the body; the emergence of what is termed bio-power, as well as how debt might be related to enclosures.


© 2022 Jenna Schoof

Creative Commons License

This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.

Persistent Identifier