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The social patterning of values and rationalities: mothers' choices in combining caring and employment

Duncan, S. and Irwin, S. (2004) The social patterning of values and rationalities: mothers' choices in combining caring and employment. Social Policy and Society, 3 (4). pp. 391-399. ISSN 1474-7464

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The assumption of individualised rationality runs through the two dominant theorisations of family behaviour – new household economics and individualisation. We demonstrate the inaccuracy of this assumption, using the results of two CAVA projects into mothers' perceptions and choices in combining mothering with paid work, in allocating tasks with partners, and in choosing childcare. Rather, mothers make such decisions within socially negotiated accounts of what is morally adequate, and we go on to show how these decisions and the values informing them are socially patterned by class and ethnicity. Finally, we consider how both theory and policy can make a ‘rationality mistake’ in neglecting the importance of social ties and moral responsibilities in family life.

Item Type: Article
Copyright, Publisher and Additional Information: © Cambridge University Press 2004
Institution: The University of Leeds
Academic Units: The University of Leeds > Faculty of Education, Social Sciences and Law (Leeds) > School of Sociology and Social Policy (Leeds)
Depositing User: Repository Assistant
Date Deposited: 16 Jun 2006
Last Modified: 06 Jun 2014 03:49
Published Version: http://dx.doi.org/10.1017/S1474746404002076
Status: Published
Publisher: Cambridge University Press
Refereed: Yes
Identification Number: 10.1017/S1474746404002076
URI: http://eprints.whiterose.ac.uk/id/eprint/1295

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