Paper $26.00 ISBN: 9780226143606 Published July 1994


Feeding the Family

The Social Organization of Caring as Gendered Work

Marjorie L. DeVault

Feeding the Family

Marjorie L. DeVault

284 pages | 3 tables, 1 figure. | 6 x 9 | © 1991
Paper $26.00 ISBN: 9780226143606 Published July 1994
Housework—often trivialized or simply overlooked in public discourse—contributes in a complex and essential way to the form that families and societies assume. In this innovative study, Marjorie L. DeVault explores the implications of "feeding the family" from the perspective of those who do that work. Along the way, DeVault offers a new vocabulary for discussing nurturance as a basis of group life and sociability.

Drawing from interviews conducted in 1982-83 in a diverse group of American households, DeVault reveals the effort and skill behind the "invisible" work of shopping, cooking, and serving meals. She then shows how this work can become oppressive for women, drawing them into social relations that construct and maintain their subordinate position in household life.
Part One: The Work of "Feeding a Family"
1. Doing Family Meals
2. Provisioning
3. Constructing the Family
Part Two: Organization of the Work
4. Feeding as "Women's Work"
5. Never Done
6. Conflict and Deference
Part Three: Feeding Work and Social Class
7. Affluence and Poverty
8. The Significance of Style
Appendix: Profiles of Named Informants
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