Sociology of Family
4 February 2013
- In reproductive labour there are two primary components. One is producing new generation
and the other is sustaining the existing generation. Producing new generation as labour force.
Parenting is required, if we are going to produce and reproduce new generation of workers.
- Parenting is one of the essential components of reproductive labour.
- It is not only child bearing but child rearing.
- Child bearing is only 9months but child bearing takes a lifetime
- Parenting requires that we convert and also mobilize existing resources and social relations.
Existing resources is physical and emotional labour is required in child rearing. Notonly parents
need to evoke physical and emotional labour they need to mobilize and convert existing social
relations. Sometimes we hear that it takes a whole community to raise a child, we are taking
about social relations. In order for social relations to be available for child rearing we need to
sustain and rejuvenate the social relations. That is how we unpack the notion of parenting
- All this work is a good example to further demonstrate the concept of staging family life. What
happens in the family does not happen naturally, it take deliberate effort to make it happen.
Unpacking parenting requires us to see the invisible effort. The effort is often unpaid, which
goes back to an important aspect of reproductive labour.
A case study of parenting
- Assigned reading,
- Data collected; 1992-1994 and 1995-1998
- It was collected in Toronto through parenting workshops.
- Most of these individuals were heterosexual couples that were middle class white and white
- Looked at data from during pregnancy to the end of first 2 months after the baby was born and
when they turned one.
- Researchers interviewed couples, used qualitative research (interviews)
- Research usually start off based on curiousity, in this case they wanted to know what happens
when couples have children
- So they asked questions like why and the extent to which gender differences and divisions are
created when heterosexual couples become parents, and what the implications of these
difference and divisions are for couples relationship? How did the women and men negotiate
with each other the redirectionof care that occurred when the women did child centered mothering? Did becoming a mother affect expectation on the women to fulfiil their obligations
as wives? What was the relationship of motherwork and motherhood to housework.
Positioning parenthood in the context of reproductive labour
- Men’s increasing involvement in reproductive labour
- Contradictions in motherhood
- Women and men are changed by parenthood differently
- Experiences of parenthood is shaped by women and men’s circumstances and their experiences
as mothers and fathers
- Heterosexual couples usually become more conventional when they become parents.
- When it comes to parenting we see that once the couples have moved in to parenthood we see
a drastic change, between the couples. On the one hand when women become mothers they
experience a contradictory situation, on one hand they feel that they have no choice but to take
care of the baby (which is exhausting and demanding) but it is also rewarding that new mothers
talk about this excitement. For women motherhood can be both rewarding but be constraining.
- Men and women experience parenthood differently. For women, child bearing changed them,
their physical body, their relationship with their family (they are no longer single), change their
relationship with their partner (instead of two there are now 2 or 4) changed their routine, t