Time deprivation and commodification
DOI link for Time deprivation and commodification
Time deprivation and commodification book
There are some households that are ‘work rich’ – where both partners are earners and through their work contacts can obtain other part-time employment or contracts if they so desire – and some that are ‘work poor’ – where both partners are living on social security and are cut off from the networks which would alert them to job opportunities. Paid work has become the essential aid to accessing the consumer society, and it is reaching ever deeper into households. Children work, often illegally, from 11 or 12 years of age and it is not uncommon to find teenagers working while at school, not just ‘Saturday jobs’ but other days of the week as well. This carries on into higher education, with many university students working during term time
The time squeeze experienced by dual-earner households means that in many households the traditional tasks done by women – taking responsibility for the cleaning, cooking and overall management of the household – are done by domestic labourers of one description or another: nannies for the children, cleaners for the house and other services. Overwhelmingly, this work is performed by women and is low paid. The professional middle class now rely upon a domestic service economy composed of child-minders, nannies and cleaners. This has grown considerably in the last two decades, and it was in 1994 that it was reported that there were more nannies in the UK than there were car workers (Demos, 1994). Normally, the relationship between the cleaner and the professional middle-class woman is profoundly unequal – with the cleaner not having the same opportunities open to her. Some commentators predict that this kind of relationship will be seen much more in the future, with the lowest income groups getting employment by servicing the needs of the rich and the ‘contented majority’ of the middle class. They will be a service class providing personal services which their employers do not have time to perform themselves. The inequalities in earnings have increased as a result of the dual-earner professional middle-class family.