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Title: Children's experiences of parental employment: gender, class and work-life negotiations
Author: Pimlott-Wilson, Helena Lynda
Awarding Body: University of Liverpool
Current Institution: University of Liverpool
Date of Award: 2008
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In recent years, there has been much investigation into the impact that having children has on mothers' decisions to enter paid employment. Researchers have identified how the age and number of children condition the type of employment, the shift patterns and hours of work, which in tum influence the domestic division of labour. Public discourses about the appropriateness of maternal employment identify the potential 'damage' that the employment of mothers might have for their own family and work experiences as well as for children's development. Yet, much social research has ignored children's voices and, in particular, the advancement of feminist perspectives has not encouraged researchers to address children's experience directly, seeing them as receivers of women's work and attention. It must be acknowledged that children are not just passively affected by mothers' decisions relating to employment. By considering the employment of mothers from the child's perspective, my research engages with current debates in the study of childhood about the importance of identifying children as agents, which have influenced growing interest in children's and young people's geographies. The primary aim of this research is to explore how children receive and perceive their parents' employment. By engaging with children aged five to six and eight to nine years in the West Cumbrian context, it explores the significance of local socio-economic circumstances in affecting the employment types and arrangements of parents as articulated by these young people. It explores how children experience these varying employment types, and how the configurations of the home and work spheres impact upon their experiences. Drawing upon the concepts of habitus, and social and cultural capital, it analyses their combined contribution to the differential life experiences and views of the children in the study. The construction of gender roles and parenthood through normative discourses is addressed, and the thesis illustrates that motherhood and fatherhood are fluid and fluctuating identities that can vary between areas. It also explores the way home and work are divided in different contexts. Overall, the thesis contributes to discourses about motherhood, childhood and family life, addresses the use of family time, and questions children's understandings of employment and the impact this has on their conceptualisations of their lives. The thesis looks critically at the relative importance of class, economic background and place in transmitting the gendered aspects of employment and home life intergenerationally.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available