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Making Care Count

Making Care Count: A Century of Gender, Race, and Paid Care Work

Copyright Date: 2011
Published by: Rutgers University Press
Pages: 204
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  • Book Info
    Making Care Count
    Book Description:

    There are fundamental tasks common to every society: children have to be raised, homes need to be cleaned, meals need to be prepared, and people who are elderly, ill, or disabled need care. Day in, day out, these responsibilities can involve both monotonous drudgery and untold rewards for those performing them, whether they are family members, friends, or paid workers. These are jobs that cannot be outsourced, because they involve the most intimate spaces of our everyday lives--our homes, our bodies, and our families.

    Mignon Duffy uses a historical and comparative approach to examine and critique the entire twentieth-century history of paid care work--including health care, education and child care, and social services--drawing on an in-depth analysis of U.S. Census data as well as a range of occupational histories. Making Care Count focuses on change and continuity in the social organization along with cultural construction of the labor of care and its relationship to gender, racial-ethnic, and class inequalities. Debunking popular understandings of how we came to be in a "care crisis," this book stands apart as an historical quantitative study in a literature crowded with contemporary, qualitative studies, proposing well-developed policy approaches that grow out of the theoretical and empirical arguments.

    eISBN: 978-0-8135-5077-0
    Subjects: Sociology

Table of Contents

  1. Front Matter
    (pp. i-vi)
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. vii-viii)
  3. List of Figures
    (pp. ix-x)
  4. Acknowledgments
    (pp. xi-xiv)
  5. Introduction
    (pp. 1-8)

    In every society, children have to be raised—taught whatever they need to know to survive in their particular time and place. They also have to be fed, bathed, diapered, and taken care of when they are sick or hurt. Homes need to be maintained, kitchens need to be stocked and cleaned, meals need to be prepared, and clothing needs to be laundered. People who are elderly, ill, or disabled need care. These are some of the most fundamental tasks of a society, and the daily labor of these activities can involve both monotonous drudgery and untold rewards for those...

  6. Chapter 1 Conceptualizing Care
    (pp. 9-19)

    Supreme court justice potter stewart famously said that although he could not provide a clear definition of pornography, “I know it when I see it.”¹ In many ways, the same could be said of “care work.” The term has become something of a buzzword among scholars and advocates, and it is often used in ways that assume a shared implicit understanding of what care is. However, as with pornography, when it comes to specifying which particular jobs or particular workers should be included as care, there are as many definitions as there are scholars. In an undergraduate textbook on care,...

  7. Chapter 2 Domestic Workers: Many Hands, Heavy Work
    (pp. 20-41)

    In her well-known fictional portrayal of nineteenth-century family life,Home, Catharine Maria Sedgwick explains that the family “did not regard their servant as a hireling, but as a member of the family, who, from her humble position in it, was entitled to their protection and care.”¹ Maria W. Stewart, an African American women’s rights activist who had worked as a domestic servant from a young age, described service very differently: “Tell me no more of southern slavery; for with few exceptions … I consider our condition but little better than that.”² Taken together, these two voices capture many of the...

  8. Chapter 3 Transforming Nurturance, Creating Expert Care
    (pp. 42-74)

    As domestic service saw a precipitous decline in the twentieth century, other forms of paid care work were expanding just as sharply. Hospitals and medical centers became the primary delivery sites of health care, which meant a growing number of positions for doctors, nurses, and other specialized health-care workers. As more and more children attended school, the number of teachers at all levels of education increased. The work of serving the poor and others in need, once defined as charity, became more associated with expert intervention, resulting in the creation of many jobs for social workers and other human services...

  9. Chapter 4 Managing Nurturant Care in the New Economy
    (pp. 75-112)

    By the middle of the twentieth century, the notion of expert care was well established, and a range of occupational roles had been defined (or redefined) to provide that care. In the second half of the century, population growth and demographic trends continued to expand the demand for care services, and paid care grew exponentially. Paid nurturant care work is not only crucial for meeting the needs of contemporary society in the United States, but also a vital part of the economic engine of the country. Nevertheless, nurturant care workers at the dawn of the twenty-first century operate largely in...

  10. Chapter 5 Doing the Dirty Work
    (pp. 113-128)

    Because racial-ethnic divisions in paid reproductive labor have been organized in part along a spiritual-menial continuum, focusing only on nurturant care leaves out the jobs at the menial end, where racial-ethnic workers are most concentrated. Cleaning, food, and laundry workers are important to a complete picture of racial-ethnic stratification in paid care.¹ These nonnurturant reproductive labor occupations also contrast with the overwhelmingly female-dominated arena of nurturant care. Although cleaning in the domestic sphere is associated with women, cleaning jobs in nondomestic settings have evolved as more gender-integrated occupations, as have food preparation and service jobs, suggesting that the association of...

  11. Chapter 6 Making Care Count
    (pp. 129-146)

    A colleague once commented to me during a discussion about care: “You know, all these years feminists were trying to convince us that care waswork—then care theorists started trying to convince us that care was something unique and entirely distinct. Maybe we had it right the first time.” Many care scholars share the same goal: to raise public recognition of and societal rewards for care work and untangle the web of gender, racial-ethnic, and class inequalities in which our approach to care is currently enmeshed. How do we make care count? What are the implications of different conceptualizations...

  12. Appendix: Data and Methods
    (pp. 147-152)
  13. Notes
    (pp. 153-176)
  14. Index
    (pp. 177-185)
  15. Back Matter
    (pp. 186-186)