The Social and Political Economy of the Household

By Michael Anderson; Frank Bechhofer et al. | Go to book overview

FOREWORD

This volume is part of a series of publications arising from the Social Change and Economic Life Initiative--a programme of research funded by the Economic and Social Research Council. The major objectives of the programme were to study the nature and determinants of employer labour force policies, worker experiences of employment and the labour market, the changing dynamics of household relations, and the impact of changes in the employment structure on social integration and social stratification in the community.

The research programme focused on six local labour markets: Aberdeen, Coventry, Kirkcaldy, Northampton, Rochdale, and Swindon. These were selected to provide contrasting patterns of recent and past economic change. Three of the localities-- Coventry, Kirkcaldy, and Rochdale--had relatively high levels of unemployment in the early and mid-1980s, whereas the other three experienced relatively low levels of unemployment.

The data collected by the Initiative give an exceptionally rich picture of the lives of people and of the operation of the labour market in the different localities. Three representative surveys were carried out between 1986 and 1987, providing fully comparable data across the localities. The first--the Work Attitudes/Histories Survey--was a random survey of the non- institutional population aged between 20 and 60, involving interviews with about 1,000 people in each locality. It provides information on work histories, current experiences of employment or unemployment, and attitudes to work. This was taken as the point of departure for the other two surveys, focusing respectively on the household circumstances of respondents and on the policies of their employers. In the Household and Community Survey approximately a third of the original respondents were reinterviewed to develop a picture of their household strategies, their organization of domestic work, their leisure activities, their

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