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who cares? maintenance work is mostly care work. care, as in: looking after something or someone, attending to children or to the ill, cleaning your windows, looking after your clothes, etc. as becomes clear from the examples, maintenance work is the work that allows all other work (or anything, really) to go on as usual, and it is gendered. because nothing new is necessarily produced or brought about in maintenance work, it is often taken for granted. (good) maintenance work is more often than not invisible; it is the lack of maintenance work, neglect, that becomes apparent – dirty dishes, an unkempt garden, and so forth. think of an apartment where a landlord is in charge of maintenance: when done properly, these services can seem self-evident (as they indeed should be in the case of property owners), but when you have a leaking roof and a neglectful landlord, the value and importance of maintenance work becomes rather hard to ignore.