Conceptualizing the Foundation of Inequalities in Care Work

Mary Romero, Nancy Pérez

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

    4 Citations (Scopus)

    Abstract

    Over the past decade, social science researchers in the area of feminism, labor, immigration, and family have written extensively on the care work crisis and globalized care work. Depending on how broadly care work is conceived, these writings emphasize unique aspects of gender, race, class, and/or citizenship inequalities. Second wave of feminist perspectives, for instance, identify housework and most work culturally defined as “women’s work”—including all paid health occupations dominated by women, such as nurses, direct care workers, and hospital workers but also possibly even health, education, and social service occupations—as central to gender subordination. Another important research stream, focusing on domestic labor as women’s work, but recognizing its traditional outsourcing to slaves, servants, and later employees, highlights the complexities of the inequality generated, not only in terms of gender but race, class, and citizenship as well. Bringing these two bodies of literature together in conversation initially pointed to the inaccurate assumption that care work was valued when it became wage labor. The paid labor of domestics, nannies, and elderly care workers, however, remains deeply devalued, most often with those with limited options entering the profession. This article both assesses contradictions within dominant approaches to care work and highlights the cultural and political foundations of the very inequalities that domestic care workers experience.

    Original languageEnglish (US)
    Pages (from-to)172-188
    Number of pages17
    JournalAmerican Behavioral Scientist
    Volume60
    Issue number2
    DOIs
    StatePublished - Feb 1 2016

    Fingerprint

    worker
    labor
    Feminism
    gender
    Slaves
    Outsourced Services
    citizenship
    health occupations
    Housekeeping
    Health Occupations
    Social Sciences
    Salaries and Fringe Benefits
    Emigration and Immigration
    wage labor
    housework
    Social Work
    Health Education
    women's work
    servants
    outsourcing

    Keywords

    • care work
    • inequality
    • intersectionality

    ASJC Scopus subject areas

    • Social Psychology
    • Social Sciences(all)
    • Sociology and Political Science
    • Cultural Studies
    • Education

    Cite this

    Conceptualizing the Foundation of Inequalities in Care Work. / Romero, Mary; Pérez, Nancy.

    In: American Behavioral Scientist, Vol. 60, No. 2, 01.02.2016, p. 172-188.

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

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