Social Production and Reproduction at the Interface of Public and Private Spheres: Volume 16


Table of contents

(20 chapters)

Purpose/approach – This introduction sets forth the main themes of the volume, reviews the methods employed by its contributors, and demonstrates the relationships among the chapters.

Research implications – The introduction demonstrates the ways gender research engages topics of current social, economic, and political importance and the ways in which focus on these topics advances an intersectional approach to gender research.

Practical and social implications – Drawing on each of the chapters, the authors point to the ways in which the global movement of people, media, and ideas foster changes in self-concepts, behavior, and social policy.

Value of the chapter – The essay serves as an overall introduction to the volume.

Purpose – This chapter examines the roles of the Unification Church (UC) in reconstructing the discourse of the gendered desire of Filipina marriage migrants and their Korean husbands, serving as an intermediary agency in the process of international marriage migration, and reinforcing heterosexual practices as part of a regime of normalization.

Methodology – The chapter is based on 1 year of ethnographic fieldwork that included a review of secondary sources, participant observation, and in-depth interviews with Filipinas and Korean men.

Findings – The chapter shows the ways in which the UC reinforces the dominant discourse of gendered desire that portrays marriage migrants as women who wish to migrate mainly to marry a man who can provide economic stability. Filipina migrants, however, infuse the cultural discourse of romantic love into their decisions about husbands and marriage migration. Lastly, as the UC delineates normative heterosexual practices based on its religious doctrines, the church becomes a “regime of normalization” for traditional patriarchal heteronormativity.

Social implications – The chapter contributes to the idea that gender and sexuality are socially constructed and constitutive of migration.

Originality/value of chapter – The chapter examines not only the matchmaking role of an intermediary agency that facilitates cross-border marriages but also the agency's role in re/constructing gendered desire. Further, the chapter contributes to an understudied area: the social process of reconstructing heteronormativity in a transnational context.

Purpose – The chapter analyzes the conciliation strategies of the Chinese business families in Spain.

Methodology – The data was gathered as part of a major fieldwork project that included in-depth interviews and participant observation.

Findings – The research reveals a kind of transnational motherhood, which is invisible in the academic field. The strategy for work-family balance of the Chinese in Spain situates the mothers primarily in their productive dimension. Management of the work-family balance (the productive and reproductive work) depends on the phase of the family business path. Chinese families enact two different strategies for balancing work-family life: “transnationalized” reproduction and “externalized” reproduction. In both strategies, Chinese women do not engage in intensive motherhood, but at the same time they do remain highly involved in the home. The analysis of the productive-reproductive continuum shows the complexity of the gender relationships within the Chinese family enterprise.

Theoretical implications – Fieldwork data discloses a dynamic social relationship and suggest a revision of the theoretical assumptions used to explain the links among gender, work, and family in transnational space.

Practical implications – As global immigration continues to grow, adjustments and flexibility will be required of all parties. Immigrant families will have to contend with family reunification policies that vary from nation to nation. Because immigrant family dynamics can be culture-specific, receiving nations will require flexible policies in housing, education, and other sectors.

Purpose – To explore certain aspects of women's experience of their reproductive lives, in different cultural contexts, especially their views on sexuality and sexual practices. It is based on transnational comparative research, and compares the experiences and meanings about motherhood and mother/daughter relationships, especially referring to sexuality and reproductive health. The two contexts we have chosen for this chapter are drawn from our data on Indonesian and Canadian women. While these women come from culturally diverse situations, we find continuities between their experiences as well as contrasts in the contexts in which they live their reproductive lives.

Methodology – Our study was based on collecting participant driven narratives focused on their experience of their reproductive lives. We interviewed women from three generations in the same families to secure a longitudinal perspective and to examine the relationships between generations in the same family. Our overall purpose was to examine the role of local culture in the social reproduction of women's lives in the family.

Findings – The findings we discuss in this chapter focus on the continuities and contrasts we found in women's experience as lived in very different cultural, religious, and political contexts. Indonesian and Canadian women are struggling to live healthy and meaningful lives in a world that is changing ideologically, culturally, politically, and economically. We identify some key problems faced by women, especially as they negotiate the difficult terrain of sexuality, and suggest some points of entry in solving them.

Originality/value – The originality of the article lies in the close examination of in-depth, qualitative data on family relationships, especially in contrasting cultural situations. We also think that our approach, which focuses on generations of women in the same families, provides us with a unique perspective on how relationships and especially women's experience of their reproductive and sexual lives are closely related to the way in which culture is mediated in families.

Purpose – This chapter examines the cultural resources that enable Black single mothers in the United States to handle the burdens of poverty while parenting. Through a Black feminist theory lens, the convergence of the historical traditions, practices and institutions within the Black community are examined as to how they enable Black women to effectively care for their families. Additionally, the cultural strengths of the Black community are highlighted to further elucidate how they help Black women resist the hegemonic perceptions of Black single mothers as unfit.

Methodology – To explain the cultural resources leveraged by Black women in poverty to raise their families, qualitative analysis of the existing peer-reviewed literature focusing on a range of topics specific to the Black community and family were utilized. The United States Census Bureau data were used to describe the target population and to better inform the overall analysis.

Findings – Despite the stereotypes and obstacles faced by single Black mothers in poverty, characteristics specific to the Black community, and Black women in particular, have enabled them to establish communities, networks, and environments that help them care for and raise their children.

Social implications – Attention to the sociohistorical experiences of the Black community and family must be paid in order to understand single-mother family formation within the Black community. Moreover, greater understanding of the cultural strengths of the Black community must be acknowledged in order to better comprehend how single Black women living in poverty are able to effectively sustain families and defy stereotypes.

Originality/value of chapter – Previous analyses of families headed by low-income Black women have often taken a negative, if not judgmental, approach. This analysis takes a different approach. In addition to exploring the structural and historical origins of families headed by low-income Black women, it highlights the strengths born out of the cultural practices and traditions of the Black community and family.

Purpose – Informed by Chinese mothers from four villages, the purpose of this chapter is to address the old issue of feminization of family survival, but situated within the landscape of neoliberalism. This study investigates the interplay between Chinese patriarchal values and neoliberal ideas that have shaped the Happiness Project – Action to Aid Impoverished Mothers – an official population control program that has been combined with poverty reduction “Action.”

Methodology – This research began in 2001 in Sichuan Province, Southwest China. Over a period of three years I interviewed 48 women who were participants in the Happiness Project.

Findings – The goal of the Happiness Project is to bring “happiness” to poor mothers through the introduction of microcredit, literacy programs, and the improvement of reproductive health. Three maternal aspects of the Happiness Project, as the study indicates, coincide with three particular patriarchal values. These include an official construction of a good mother image, targeting women's bodies as objects of the state's population control, and reinforcing gender stereotypes through market activity. The findings of this research suggest that feminization of family survival coincided with achieving the goal of the Project. Mothers thus have carried a double burden on behalf of the Chinese state and their families: the goals of declining fertility and increasing family prosperity.

Social implications – Based on this outcome, the study not only calls for reevaluating this “women-only” economic development model, but also calls into question whether bringing Chinese women into public production/market activity is a path to women's emancipation under neoliberalism.

Purpose – This chapter explores ways in which urban women in China balance work and family demands, as the state's protective and welfare functions in post-Mao reform are increasingly being replaced by market forces, and the chapter examines how urban women's enactment of work and family roles are shaped by changing workplaces as well as by their personal and family circumstances. The purpose is to understand the impact of marketization on gender configuration through the lens of the work-family nexus.

Research design – Data come from in-depth interviews conducted between 2005 and 2007 with 115 married women in four large cities. For analytical purposes, the informants were divided into three groups: stay-at-home moms, family-orientated working women, and work/career-oriented women.

Findings – Although market reform may create opportunities for some women to enhance their personal lives, as a consequence of workers' loss of the safety net and welfare benefits, the neglect of women's reproductive work, and the commercialization of child care and child education, it has generated, for many women, much role conflict between work and family. Work/career-oriented women are able to actively engage in market activities precisely because they are protected still by the state, can afford commercial services of domestic tasks, or have strong support from their extended families.

Originality/value – Women's varying role orientations reflect more their strategies of coping with structural changes than their mere adherence to certain gender ideologies.

Social implications – The chapter calls for curbing unbridled market forces and restoring public services so as to create a family/women-friendly work and social environment.

Purpose – This research examined the effects of gender, home demands, and work demands on work–family conflict (WFC) for faculty at two liberal arts colleges.

Methodology – A work climate survey was sent to the entire population of 341 tenured and tenure-track faculty at two small highly selective private liberal arts colleges, one formerly all male and the other formerly all female. The response rate was 70%, yielding 237 respondents. Faculty were compared by gender using t-tests and by gender and discipline using analysis of variance (ANOVA). Multiple regression was used to examine factors contributing to faculty WFC.

Findings – Gender, rank, and department climate were significantly associated with WFC. In contrast, caregiving responsibilities, college of employment, and discipline did not have significant relationships with WFC. Controlling for caregiving, employment at a formerly all-male college, working in a STEM discipline, and department climate did not reduce the effect of gender on WFC. Women faculty reported more WFC than their male counterparts, while full professors reported less than their junior colleagues. Good department climate overall as well as high scores on all three subscales individually (affective, instrumental, and cognitive) reduced WFC.

Research limitations – This research project is a cross-sectional, observational study, which limits the interpretation of direction of effect in most cases.

Practical implications – Results suggest that more supportive department climates could reduce WFC for faculty struggling to balance their personal and professional lives.

Purpose – The chapter studies gender occupational segregation of rural-urban migrant workers in China based on 2006 survey data from five Chinese cities.

Methodology – The multinomial logit (MNL) model is used to analyze migrant workers' occupational attainment by gender. The Oaxaca–Blinder decomposition method is employed to analyze factors affecting gender occupational segregation, which can be classified into observed factors and unobserved factors, including gender discrimination.

Findings – The index of dissimilarity based on the data shows that gender occupational segregation for migrant workers exists. The result of Oaxaca–Blinder decomposition shows that the unobserved effects account for more than three-fourths of the total gender occupational segregation.

Research limitations – The “index problem” and the assumption of the same occupational preference between men and women of the Oaxaca–Blinder decomposition need to be addressed further.

Social implications – The existing gender equality policies and social protection confined to urban workers should be extended to migrant workers. Increasing training investment in migrant workers is also recommended.

Purpose – This chapter analyzes how various gender discourses transmitted through mass media such as television form discourse competition and conflict today as China is confronting cultural globalization. In that context, a wave of consumerism and nostalgia for cultural tradition become two of the key factors that shield patriarchy and resist feminism.

Method – Quantitative and qualitative responses of Chinese university students to video productions from South Korea and the United States are studied, compared, and contrasted by using survey and focus group discussion methods.

Findings – Women and men students show preference for different types of televised and film entertainment. Both respond to the gender discourses depicted, seeing in them models for behavior and fashion. The independence and sexual freedom reflected in TV series from the United States is seen by many as less applicable to the Chinese context than the idealized traditionalism of the Korean series.

Social implications – Global culture provides alternative and competing gender discourses, which can lead to social change or to nostalgia for an idealized tradition in the face of change. To the extent that both women and men adopt the male gaze, patriarchal culture is strengthened, not challenged in the process.

Purpose – This chapter highlights two studies, one in Canada and one in the United Kingdom. The Canadian study focused on the examination of student experiences with respect to specific ‘difficult’ content in the classroom. The purpose of the study was to identify ways that were effective and engaging for students to learn. The UK study examined issues of access, retention and drop-out of non-traditional students in higher education. The study examined the learning experiences of women who returned to learning after being out of the education system for some time.

Methodology – The Canadian study used surveys and interviews. Participants were recruited on the basis of their enrolment in specific classes. The UK study used interview samples drawn from student data in three universities. In each university, a cohort was followed and interviewed three times while in another cohort students were interviewed in their first year of study and different cohort in their final year of study.

Approach – Both studies use a feminist, narrative approach that relies on reflexive engagement in the research process.

Findings and implications – The studies highlight that the classroom is a place where dialogue and engagement occur; where the identities of the participants and their learning are in a dynamic process; and where the learners challenge attitudes and ideologies such as capitalism and forms of marginalisation. The studies revealed that learning has a social value and entreats women to reconsider their lives, work and citizenship.

Purpose and methodology – Focusing on the policy contexts of gender education in Taiwan, this chapter uses data from interviews with elite policymakers and policy documents to examine how feminist activists sought to legitimatize gender equity in education in the wake of the comprehensive social and educational reforms of the 1990s and early years of this decade.

Findings – The embedding of gender in education did not follow a smooth path in terms of policy formulation. Feminist activists drove the process of reform by retaining control over the naming of the legislation, and its wording, thus preserving the language and imperatives of gender equity.

Social implications – In this chapter, I examine the formation of the Gender Equity Education Law, detailing the struggles, contentions, and negotiations that underlay the eventual approval of gender reform in education.

Originality/value of chapter – The chapter contributes significantly by identifying the necessity to recognize the nature of the state and its relations with society in order to research gender in education in Taiwan.

Purpose – The chapter explores transnational influences, global and local networks and organizations (governmental and nongovernmental), in the development of domestic violence policy in China and England.

Approach – The frameworks of traveling theory (Said, 1984; Min, 2005) and global social policy and international relations approaches to policy transfer such as policy entrepreneurs (Stone, 2001) are used to discuss the different domestic violence policy trajectories in the two countries.

Social implications – It is shown that in China, where activism and policy development concerning domestic violence is relatively recent, global social policy and transnational alliances created via international and global meetings have enabled activists to draw on ideas and policy frameworks from outside the nation-state to develop a specifically Chinese policy agenda. In England, where there is a longer history of debate and policy development regarding domestic violence, global social policy and transnational links have more recently become important to activists and academics wanting to shift policy developments further and to place them within a framework of gendered inequality and human rights.

Findings – The chapter considers action and policy development related to domestic violence, comparing these across the very different contexts of England and China by using the ideas of traveling theory and policy networks. It is shown that use by Chinese of pressure from “within” and “at the margins” of the state has proven effective in challenging and developing domestic violence policy, while in England a combination of pressure from “outside” the state and mainstreaming has enabled activists to develop the policy agenda in positive, if fragile, ways.

Originality/values of chapter – In both China and England, there is evidence of policy entrepreneurs traveling policy ideas into the countries, where they are contested and incorporated. The particular sociopolitical contexts of women's movements and networks influence policy development across the different localities. Within the Chinese context, activists have used pressure from “within” and “at the margins” of the state to effectively challenge and develop domestic violence policy. English activists have instead used pressure from “outside” the state to develop and shape domestic violence policy in England.

Cay Anderson-Hanley, Ph.D., is assistant professor of psychology at Union College in Schenectady, NY. She obtained her doctorate from the University at Albany, and completed a postdoctoral fellowship in geriatric neuropsychology at UCLA. Her scientific work has focused on the neuropsychological effects of aging, cancer, and exercise interventions. She teaches clinically oriented courses, including psychological assessment. Cay has served as a co-PI on the NSF Advance grant awarded to Skidmore and Union Colleges since 2008, and contributed to the development and analysis of the climate survey utilized in the chapter in this volume. She has interest in understanding and finding solutions for the challenges of achieving professional-personal life balance for all faculty members, especially as it pertains to facilitating women's advancement in the sciences.

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Advances in Gender Research
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Emerald Publishing Limited
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