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Lecture Handout - Winter Lecture #1

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Social Science
SOSC 1185
Lee Wiggins

1 Winter - Handout lecture #1 For SOSC 1185 From L. Wiggins GENDERED DIVISION OF LABOUR IN THE FAMILY & WAGED WORK – HISTORICAL I. Introduction: • Women as well as men have always worked. However, the nature of work including who does what work, where it occurs, & valuing of work has changed. • Post-Industrial Revolution period is characterized by a focus on waged work as ‘real’ work & more valued, while family work & housework seen as a ‘labour of love’ and as a ‘natural’ aspect of women’s role. • The historical transformation of work & ideas about work as well as the impact these have on individuals can be examined using a macro, social construction perspective. This allows us to both identify & better explain women’s economic inequality (gender wage gap, occupational segregation, etc.) via a systematic GBA. • This understands that ‘family’ & the economy are socially, historically constructed institutions influenced by current dominant ideology or ‘systems of meaning’ + material conditions. • This perspective also recognizes important links between family & economy & state. Economy: the organization of resources to produce what we need to survive; so production, distribution, exchange, sale, and consumption of goods and services. 2 II. Families/households & economy historically: 1. Families & work in early subsistence economy • Family group is unit of production (family based economy); all members contribute • Division of labour based on sex, age - but division of labour didn’t always mean systemic gender inequality • Women’s work of gathering & transforming resources is essential to survival 2. Early colonization, pre-industrial period in Canada • Early colonization based on trapping, fur trade, exploring • Introduction of more technology, move to agrarian or fishing exchange economy but family still unit of production • Some surplus & bartering or exchange of goods. Important issues: who controlled the surplus produced, inheritance & issues of ownership overall • Women’s work still key in terms of reproduction & maintenance of family economy • However, patriarchal & Eurocentric values & norms become increasingly dominant 3. Early industrialization in Canada: • Impact of the ‘Doctrine of Two Spheres’ & ideology of male breadwinner who was expected to earn a ‘family wage’, female housewife/mother • White Eurocentric middle class ‘norm’ for idealized nuclear family; but need to remember there were difference between the idealized norm & the reality of daily lives & experiences due to class, race/ethnicity, geographic location, etc. • Gradual change in expectations of families moving from unit of production to unit of consumption • More urban living patterns 3 • Increased monetization of markets & increased production for the marketplace rather than for one’s own home consumption, more goods and services available for purchase • Development of technology & knowledge base (affected workplace, family life, transportation, etc.) Impact on waged work: • Now tied to the clock, more regimented, often supervised, more routine, more speci
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