The division of unpaid work in the household: a stubborn pattern?

Ingrid Doorten

Research output: ThesisThesis defended at external organisation, UG (co)promotor, external graduate (EDEP)

Abstract

In this book we started out with the puzzle that the equality norm for housework tasks becomes increasingly shared among women and men, whereas the actual division of housework does not seem to move much in the direction of equality (unless the women also does less in the household). This study followed a theory of social rationality, which assumes that different logics are used in different social situations (Lindenberg, 2001). This social rationality approach is applied to couple relationships by making a distinction between large and small decisions in the couple relationship (Lindenberg, 2007). Examples of large decisions are decisions that affect resources and the relationship itself, such as where to live, how to arrange and share space in the house, whether and how much a partner works, big expenses such as buying a car or a house etc.; examples of small decisions are for instance who should take out the garbage, who should cook, who should do the dishes, who should clean the house, the kitchen, the bathroom, etc. The logics in these different situations are living up to the equality norm for the large decisions in the couple relationship and a combination of task-specific norms (Knijn, 1994; Van Wel and Knijn, 2006) and a mechanism of expectation states (Berger, 1974) for the small decisions in the couple relationship in which experience and stereotypical notions lead to expectations about who can fulfill the daily tasks better. The theoretical framework made it possible to generate interesting testable predictions. The conclusions point in a direction of a gender-reproductive process (Coltrane, 2000), where cumulative decisions about task assignment lead to a “cumulation good” (Lindenberg, 1986) and thereby to differences in dependence between women and men.
Original languageEnglish
QualificationDoctor of Philosophy
Awarding Institution
  • University Utrecht
Supervisors/Advisors
  • Knijn, G. C. M., Supervisor, External person
  • Dykstra, Pearl A., Supervisor, External person
  • Lindenberg, Siegwart, Supervisor
Award date25-Jan-2008
Place of Publication[S.l.]
Publisher
Publication statusPublished - 2008

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