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WOMEN’S EVERYDAY LIFE EXPERIENCE OF HOUSEWORK AND CARE. BETWEEN PARTENERSHIP NORMS AND PATRIARCHAL NORMALITY

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Author(s): DIANA ELENA NEAGA

Journal: Challenges of the Knowledge Society
ISSN 2068-7796

Volume: 2;
Issue: -;
Start page: 1794;
Date: 2012;
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Keywords: housework and care | constructivism | norms | power relations | public narratives

ABSTRACT
My aim in this paper is to explore the process by which women from a Transylvanian county understand family relations in their everyday life with respect to the sharing of the household and care responsibilities among members, mostly men and women. In doing so I will use the distinction made by Martin Hollis between a normal behavior - which can arise after some roles have been performed (the patriarchal gender roles inside the family), and the normative behavior - the one with a moral value (the partnership model of sharing responsibilities within the family). My approach will consist in the use of a gender sensitive constructivist framework, meaning that I will emphasize the way in which social actors give meaning to their interactions, keeping in mind at the same time that these interactions are developed in a coercive framework of institutions, norms, values and rules. I consider patriarchate to be one of the most important of these coercive structures, seen as a social system which perpetuates the male dominance over women in social organization, and in which fathers hold authority over women, children, and property within the family The research design is based on a qualitative methodological triangulation. Data collection was focused on two methods: semi-structured interviews and focus groups of women from Hunedoara County, Romania, living in three towns and a village. The semi-structured interviews were used to construct narratives that allowed for a relational–based research. In this framework factors such as power relations within the family, gender roles assumed by women and their partners or extended family, as well as one’s own perceived social roles and cultural traditions (public narratives) will illuminate how power relations promote or disadvantage gender empowerment. The focus groups were made in order to establish fruitful and relevant lines of inquiry for the semi-structured interviews. I consider that one of the limitations of this research is the lack of a comparative framework between men’s and women’s understanding of the problem of household and care in Romania. The originality of this paper consists in providing new information and data about the underlined issue by using methods that try to give in-depth answers to how women see themselves as part of the family.

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