ABS358 - Gendered household labor distribution & morality: Exploring the family as an activity system and the genesis of social & moral reasoning

1.2 Children’s development and childhood
Poster in a Structured Poster Session (SPS)
5:00 PM, Tuesday 29 Aug 2017 (1 hour)
Scholars have found that while women across cultures do on average two-thirds of all household labor, only 20-30% of women have reported finding these gendered distributions unfair. Meanwhile, previous research on moral reasoning about gender inequality demonstrates that men and boys tend to employ mostly conventional, or norm-affirming, reasoning. In other words across ages and genders, individuals have been found to be less morally critical of gendered unequal distribution of labor in the home than expected.  At the same time, scholarship within this field has focused on exploring an individual’s reasoning independent of their actual practices in their own home.  In this study, I argue that by studying the home as an activity system, interviewing and observing all family members’ engagement in household labor, we can come a step closer to understanding the genesis of social and moral reasoning about the gendered division of household labor. Furthermore, observing and analyzing the activity and social and moral reasoning of 15 households in Changchun, China this study will demonstrate how individuals’ moral reasoning about their actions and experiences in the family interact with household’s activity system as well as the individual’s position in the family, gender, and stage of development. Ultimately, by employing both a social domain theoretical framework to analyze moral and social reasoning and activity theory to explore cognition in culturally organized activity, this study seeks to understand how gender inequality in the home is interpreted, perpetuated or resisted.
University of California, Berkeley