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The Sociology of Housework$
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Ann Oakley

Print publication date: 2018

Print ISBN-13: 9781447346166

Published to Policy Press Scholarship Online: May 2019

DOI: 10.1332/policypress/9781447346166.001.0001

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PRINTED FROM POLICY PRESS SCHOLARSHIP ONLINE (www.policypress.universitypressscholarship.com). (c) Copyright Policy Press, 2020. All Rights Reserved. An individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a monograph in PPSO for personal use.date: 30 March 2020

Images of Housework

Images of Housework

(p.37) 3 Images of Housework
The Sociology of Housework

Ann Oakley

Policy Press

This chapter discusses how housewives themselves perceive the housework situation. Two conflicting stereotypes of housework exist in popular thinking today. According to one, the housewife is an oppressed worker: she slaves away in work that is degrading, unpleasant, and essentially self-negating. According to the other, housework provides the opportunity for endless creative and leisure pursuits. Throughout the forty interviews, a clear perception of housework as work emerges. The women in the sample experience and define housework as labour, akin to that demanded by any job situation. Their observations tie in closely with many findings of the sociology of work; the aspects of housework that are cited as satisfying or dissatisfying have their parallels in the factory or office world. This equivalence is emphasized further by the women's own tendency to compare their reactions to housework with their experience of working outside the home.

Keywords:   housewives, housework, work, labour, job

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