housework, sociology of housework
Until relatively recently, sociologists studied women as paid employees outside the home, or as wives and mothers-but did not consider unpaid domestic labour (the various tasks of cleaning, cooking, and so forth, associated with child-care and maintaining the household ) as a job analogous to any other kind of work. It was not until the 1960s and 1970s that systematic research was undertaken which applied to domestic labour the analytical tools of the sociology of industry and work . An early example is Helene Z. Lopata's Occupation: Housework (1971).
Studies such as Ann Oakley's The Sociology of Housework(1974) have since raised questions about housewives' satisfaction and dissatisfaction with the various domestic tasks; routines for maintaining standards of cleanliness and order; the self-image of women who did this sort of work; the monotony, fragmentation, and pace of activity during the day (work conditions); social interaction among housewives; self-reward ( job satisfaction ) in housework; and social-class differences and similarities in all of these. Typically, a majority of respondents in these studies are found to be dissatisfied with housework, which is the aspect of being a housewife which is most disliked. Housewives tend to have a long working week, to perceive their role as having low social prestige, and to feel particularly dissatisfied with it when they have experienced work satisfaction in a previous (paid) job. On the other hand, according to Oakley at least, these predominantly negative feelings about housework (low job satisfaction) contrast with a typically positive orientation to (or high identification with) the housewife role itself. This apparent paradox arises because ‘women locate their orientation to the housewife role within the context of a general view of masculine and feminine roles, according to which the place of each sex is clearly and differently defined’, and within which the equation of femininity with housewifery is axiomatic. See also domestic division of labour.

Dictionary of sociology. 2013.

Look at other dictionaries:

  • Housework — House work , n. The work belonging to housekeeping; especially, kitchen work, sweeping, scrubbing, bed making, and the like. [1913 Webster] …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • housework — [n] cleaning, maintaining a home administration, bed making, cooking, domestic art, domestic science, dusting, home economics, homemaking, housecraft, housekeeping, ironing, laundering, management, mopping, sewing, stewardship, sweeping, washing; …   New thesaurus

  • housework — ► NOUN ▪ regular work done in housekeeping, such as cleaning and cooking …   English terms dictionary

  • housework — [hous′wʉrk΄] n. the work involved in housekeeping, such as cleaning, cooking, and laundering …   English World dictionary

  • housework — noun ADJECTIVE ▪ heavy, light ▪ The doctor said I could do a little light housework. VERB + HOUSEWORK ▪ do ▪ I spent all morning doing housework …   Collocations dictionary

  • housework — house|work [ˈhauswə:k US wə:rk] n [U] work that you do to take care of a house, for example washing, cleaning etc →↑chore do (the) housework ▪ I spent all morning doing the housework. ▪ I don t like doing housework. ▬▬▬▬▬▬▬ HINT sense 1 Do not… …   Dictionary of contemporary English

  • housework — n. to do housework * * * [ haʊswɜːk] to do housework …   Combinatory dictionary

  • housework — [[t]ha͟ʊswɜː(r)k[/t]] N UNCOUNT Housework is the work such as cleaning, washing, and ironing that you do in your home …   English dictionary

  • housework — noun (U) work that you do to take care of a house such as washing, cleaning etc: I spent all morning doing the housework. housing / haUzIN/ noun 1 (U) the houses or conditions that people live in: health problems caused by bad housing 2 (U) the… …   Longman dictionary of contemporary English

  • housework — noun Date: 1835 the work of housekeeping …   New Collegiate Dictionary

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