SOC314 April 3rd readings

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14 Apr 2012
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Kathleen Gerson Chapter 8
- Unpredictable personal and social challenges make gender flexibility and work-family balance
not just appealing but essential
- They reject a forced choice between personal autonomy and lasting commitment, preferring a
relationship and a vision of the self that honours both
- Preference for private solutions over political action may look like apathy but it actually reflects
a growing need- and potential- for broader institutional change
- Most have limited faith that the government will act on their behalf or for the common good
- Most of the men and women doubt public solutions, they appear to prefer private solutions in
regards to balancing earning and caring
- Armed with faith in themselves, men and women stress personal control rather than social
supports
- Young women and men from all backgrounds hope to build a careers minimizing dominance
from above
- Those with middle-class resources and educational credentials focus on professional work and
the possibility of upward career mobility, while those with more modest financial and school
resources seek ways to avoid hierarchies all together
- Personal autonomy and job flexibility essential for achieving earning and caring balance
- Want to be their own bosses
- Young workers of all stripes seek economic rewards, but not necessarily income maximization,
they are searching for work that balances “good enough” earnings with flexibility, autonomy
and time for the rest of life
- Prefer balance between earning and caring not specialization
- By claiming the right to build unconventional work trajectories, young people are closing the gap
between male and female jobs
- Economic and technological changes may make it easier for young workers to coordinate their
work and caretaking efforts, but they also make it easier for work to invade the time and space
once set aside for private life
- By redefining the ideal partner and crossing the spatial and temporal boundaries separating
public and private life, it is possible to strive for a shared “work-family” career
- Drawing on their own experiences, most prefer to stress the quality of a family’s bonds and the
flexibility of its members
- Want instead to combine the traditional value of forging a lifelong commitment with the
contemporary values of living a balanced life and creating a flexible, egalitarian partnership
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