OCCUPATION: HOUSEWIFE by Helena Znaniecki Lopata


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Professor Lopata (Loyola University) has based her study on interviews with urban and suburban housewives of all ages, incomes, etc. undertaken first in the '50's and then in the '60's. The work is exclusively professional, with its reliance on sociological sources and terminology -- ""role clusters,"" ""familial sets,"" on to the point where ""neighboring"" -- one aspect of a woman's life under consideration here -- becomes ""women socializing convergence"" far removed from the normal activity ""koffeeklatsch"" (sic). The lack of ""crystallization"" which will ultimately be attributed to the housewife also applies to this kind of analysis based on narrow specifics. One can only indicate the area of coverage beginning with the life-cycle of woman ""home-based from infancy"" and her generally low commitment ""to fields of knowledge or work""; on to her attitude-relationships as mother and wife and, as the latter, she is now ""facing a greatly expanded set of expectations"" which have not been implemented by our social structure. Self-evidently data which stops in the mid-'60's is to some extent dated and one can also question the point of view: ""In spite of a great deal of literature supposedly describing or analyzing the role of women particularly in American society, and the recent attention it has been receiving from the various 'liberation' movements, this role is hard to classify sociologically."" Equally self-evidently there is reason to question the distance between Professor Lopata's study and women as they are today.

Pub Date: June 10th, 1971
ISBN: 0313226970
Publisher: Oxford