SOC101Y1 Lecture Notes - Lecture 8: Separate Spheres, Christopher Lasch

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6 Mar 2011
The middle class in the 19 th
century, and the development of new ideas about
gender – β€˜separate spheres’
β€’ Ideas about gender developed by the middle class (successful
businessmen/doctors/lawyers & their family)
β€’ Notion that men & women are different – have different nature,
opposite sexes
Two kinds of analysis of the causes of these new ideas
1. Social-organizational change: new ideas reflect a changed reality (how
social work is organized around the separation) – work is separate from family, and the
idea about gender mapped on to this
β€’ Women belong in the family, men belong that work
β€’ The world changed, and ideas reflect that change
β€’ Home as a retreat/domestic heaven, home coming out of religious
imagery (religion was influential during changes)
β€’ Men seen as breadwiner, masculinity based on men’s economic
2. Men’s (& women’s) agency: men’s response to women’s political campaigns
for change – developing ideologies aimed to minimize change
β€’ Agency: action that people take
β€’ Men & women actively taken these ideas (when they have
campaigns for change), including women’s right campaign – men reacted to this
The β€˜cult of domesticity’ – the home as a β€˜heaven’ in a heartless world (Christopher Lasch)
β€’ Compensatory ideal
β€’ Uncertainty: people frequently move (in less than 10 years), and
huge amount of downward mobility
β€’ Religious revival (Evangelical cults) – charismatic leader self-
proclaimed to be in contact with God, set up tent where people live, active
o Breaking social norms: women who participate broke many
social rules, and there were also women preacher (public role, and made
lots of money)
o But also very conservative ideas are talked about
o Popular, and people based their identity of it
o Often middleclass who were involved
β€’ Home/heaven vs. the world
o Lasch: β€œheaven in a heartless world”, home sweet home,
there’s no place like home
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