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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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Standards and Routines

Standards and Routines

(p.94) 6 Standards and Routines
The Sociology of Housework

Ann Oakley

Policy Press

This chapter focuses on two dimensions of the housewife's job definition: standards and routines. In describing her daily life, every woman interviewed outlined the kind of standards she thought it important to stick to in housework, and the type of routine she used to achieve this end. There was, of course, a great deal of variation between one housewife and another. Some set what could be called ‘perfectionist’ standards, while others adopted a more casual attitude to order and cleanliness in the home. For some there were rigid routines repeated in the same way from one day to the next; for others, routines were more flexible. Different criteria are used in defining standards. Cleanliness may be the basic aim, with untidiness tolerated; or there may be an attitude of ‘a place for everything and everything in its place’ while the dust under the beds and the dirt hidden in crevices pass relatively unnoticed.

Keywords:   housewife, job definition, standards, routines, housework, perfectionist, rigid routines, cleanliness, untidiness

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