Academic journal article Journal of Marriage and Family

The Third Job: Employed Couples' Management of Household Work Contradictions

Academic journal article Journal of Marriage and Family

The Third Job: Employed Couples' Management of Household Work Contradictions

Article excerpt

The Third Job: Employed Couples' Management of Household Work Contradictions. Gurjeet K. Gill. Aldershot, England: Ashgate. 1998. 211 pp. ISBN 1-84014-304-5. $59.99 cloth.

In this book, derived from a doctoral dissertation, Gurjeet Gill of the University of New England, Australia, describes and analyzes how the "third job" of household work is managed by 34 dual-earner Australian couples. She views the issue as a contradiction between the macroinstitutional order of the labor market and the microinteractional order of the family, between belief and action, or an "ethos of equity and a reality of inequality regarding domestic division of labour in families." At the heart of this contradiction is an unequal division of household labor. Household work contradictions, she argues, can be ef fectively managed by devising specific sets of rules in the microinteraction order.

The book is organized into 10 chapters, five of them data chapters. Although the qualitative data are interesting, this book was disappointing to me for several reasons. First, and most distractingly, the book is badly edited, with many redundancies especially in the review of the literature in the first two chapters. There are numerous typographical errors throughout. The book reads like a series of papers written for graduate seminars; thus, it is tedious to read. The theory chapters in particular are unnecessarily comprehensive and complicated, and they need severe editing. The general and specific theoretical models are not parsimonious, and the main point of the book gets lost in the intellectual discussion of the pros and cons of different symbolic interactionists' positions on micro-macro dualisms. Likewise, the methods chapter seems as if it were written for a graduate methods class, with too much detail on the background of various methodological choices, and too little detail on sample selection and the selection of concepts to explore.

The data chapters are organized to reflect the theoretical ideas of household management rules: constraints in achieving means and ends, wives' handling of personal goals and role definitions, perceptions of gender roles, perceptions of family order, and management style. …

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