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Social inequalities, gender and lifelong learning: A feminist, sociological review of work, family and education

Miriam E. David (Teaching and Learning Research Programme, Institute of Education, London University, London, UK)

International Journal of Sociology and Social Policy

ISSN: 0144-333X

Article publication date: 25 July 2008

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to examine the relationship between social and gender inequalities and how they have been studied over the last 30 years. What have we learned, as academic sociologists in higher education, about how the socio‐cultural context, policies and global social transformations in the UK, and North America influence social stratification? The key focus is on how gender differences influence forms of social stratification through complex relations between “work”, family and education.

Design/methodology/approach

The paper reflects on changing research methodologies from their origins in sociology and second wave feminism by addressing three international studies about the troubled question of mothers’ work. All three studies reflexively address the question of changing knowledge and methodologies about social inequality or stratification.

Findings

The paper finds that while all three studies are from a feminist perspective and consider methodologies in the light of the so‐called “neo‐liberal project” and the knowledge economy, they come to rather divergent conclusions. The three studies illustrate the complexities of knowledge and methodologies about social stratification and gender inequalities.

Originality/value

The paper demonstrates how alternative methods contribute to our knowledge and the rich diversity of sociological work as an academic practice.

Keywords

Citation

David, M.E. (2008), "Social inequalities, gender and lifelong learning: A feminist, sociological review of work, family and education", International Journal of Sociology and Social Policy, Vol. 28 No. 7/8, pp. 260-272. https://doi.org/10.1108/01443330810890673

Publisher

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Emerald Group Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2008, Emerald Group Publishing Limited