Women's Paid and Unpaid Labor: The Work Transfer in Health Care and Retailing

By Nona Y. Glazer | Go to book overview

Introduction

This book explores the transformation of work from paid to unpaid. It looks at how the major reorganization of women's paid work results in job losses or vastly different paid jobs and increases in women's unpaid domestic labor. I call the shift of tasks from a paid worker to an unpaid family member or friend the work transfer, and I consider it to be one among many mechanisms that managers use to change the labor process in service jobs. My interest in the transfer of work from paid to unpaid comes from puzzling over the persistence of women's unpaid domestic labor in the United States, despite the industrialization or commercialization of much household production. The work transfer seems one obvious source of the increase in unpaid domestic labor. Although it is not the only mechanism that managers use to change the labor process, the work transfer is important to feminist scholarship and activism because it mostly affects the labor of women, in harmful as well as beneficial ways. The work transfer also demonstrates the inaccuracy of considering the social world as divided between the public sphere of labor and the private sphere of love. These are my major intellectual concerns.

But the personal is political too. In the mid- 1970s, when I began to think about women's domestic labor, my income dropped sharply after divorce. This economic consequence astonished me as much as the affluence of marriage, for though somewhat younger than the generation in Elder's Children of the Depression, I remembered "relief' and charitysupplied goods and services and had my Social Security card and first job at age twelve. The cycle of contrasts in what services I could afford during and after marriage helped me to see how much labor I did that

-xi-

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Women's Paid and Unpaid Labor: The Work Transfer in Health Care and Retailing
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page iii
  • Contents v
  • List of Tables vii
  • Acknowledgments ix
  • Introduction xi
  • Part One - Changes in Women's Lives 1
  • 1 - From Paid to Unpaid Work 3
  • 2 - The Work Transfer in the Service Economy 15
  • 3 - Women's Work: Linking Separate Spheres 29
  • Part Two - The Retail Trade Industry 47
  • 4 - The Restructuring of Retailing 49
  • 5 - From Salesclerk to Cashier 68
  • 6 - The Clerkless Customer: Doing Away with "Wasteful" Labor 87
  • Part Three - The Health Services Industry 107
  • 7 - Capital and Labor: Restructuring Health Services 109
  • 8 - Changing Hospital Work 134
  • 9 - Changing Home Care 154
  • 10 - The Home as Workshop: Amateur Nursing -- Medical Caregivers 178
  • 11 - Conclusions 204
  • Appendix, Notes, References, and Index 221
  • Appendix 223
  • Notes 231
  • References 241
  • Index 269
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