Two friends and I were once chatting, and the topic came up of the relation of domination to exploitation. Friend A cheekily suggested that exploitation, not domination, was the fundamental thing, and that all domination could be analysed as exploitation. Friend B suggested that could not be right- how could that analysis be used for micro-aggressions, such as the tendency of men to talk over women. I stuck my hand up here and suggested the following model:
Very roughly (and this is a thin sketch) A conversation is a typically non-commoditised good produced by its consumers. Often, but not always, people value having more opportunities to speak. But if everyone tried to speak as much as they wished at the moment they wished, the conversation would collapse, and none of the good would be produced.
Thus rules are created which regulate the amount of time each participant is entitled to, and in which order (give everyone a chance to say their bit, don’t drone on, don’t interrupt, etc.). The construction of these rules though, and differences in social power under sexism, mean that certain participants receive less time, despite similar investments of emotional and intellectual labour. This is because male participants can get away with breaking the turn taking rules, and have more confidence to do so.
Hence patriarchy in the conversation manifests as the exploitation of a form of immaterial production where social power is leveraged to extract more of a desired good (airtime). It’s fairly simple to see how a model like this might be extended to other immaterial goods, produced by interpersonal relationships, like status in general.
Edit: I’ve had a few friends think that what I’ve tried to do here is reduce various oppressions to class through the notion of exploitation. Actually what I’ve done is nearly the opposite. I’ve sketched a way you can detach the concept of exploitation from class.