Sociological Perspectives on Families and Work: The Import of Gender, Class, and Race
Since the late 1970s, sociological analyses of work and family have emphasized gender. For its time, this emphasis was a key innovation. But, it is not enough. Although we can occasionally speak of women or of men as a group, we often must attend to variation within each gender group to understand the relationship of families and work. This chapter reviews contemporary sociological research and theories on families and work, describing and explaining differences and similarities across gender, class, and race. More specificaIly, it concentrates on the work that families do, focusing on unpaid family labor and specifying its relationship to paid work. In particular, we argue that we can explain much of the variation in unpaid family work with variation in paid work across gender, race, and class.