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Making Care Count: A Century of Gender, Race, and Paid Care Work
by Mignon Duffy
Rutgers University Press, 2011
eISBN: 978-0-8135-8078-4 | Cloth: 978-0-8135-4960-6 | Paper: 978-0-8135-4961-3
Library of Congress Classification HD8039.S452U638 2011
Dewey Decimal Classification 331.76136210973


There are fundamental tasks common to every society: children have to be raised, homes need to be cleaned, meals need to be prepared, and people who are elderly, ill, or disabled need care. Day in, day out, these responsibilities can involve both monotonous drudgery and untold rewards for those performing them, whether they are family members, friends, or paid workers. These are jobs that cannot be outsourced, because they involve the most intimate spaces of our everyday lives--our homes, our bodies, and our families.

Mignon Duffy uses a historical and comparative approach to examine and critique the entire twentieth-century history of paid care work--including health care, education and child care, and social services--drawing on an in-depth analysis of U.S. Census data as well as a range of occupational histories. Making Care Count focuses on change and continuity in the social organization along with cultural construction of the labor of care and its relationship to gender, racial-ethnic, and class inequalities. Debunking popular understandings of how we came to be in a "care crisis," this book stands apart as an historical quantitative study in a literature crowded with contemporary, qualitative studies, proposing well-developed policy approaches that grow out of the theoretical and empirical arguments.

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