Affective Equality: Love, Care and Injustice by Kathleen Lynch, John Baker, Maureen Lyons

By Kathleen Lynch, John Baker, Maureen Lyons

This groundbreaking book offers a brand new standpoint on equality through highlighting and exploring affective equality, the point of equality fascinated by relationships of affection, care and team spirit. Drawing on experiences of intimate being concerned, or "love laboring," it finds the intensity, complexity and multidimensionality of affective inequality.

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Extra resources for Affective Equality: Love, Care and Injustice

Sample text

A key issue however is that while both men and women work in all arenas, there is a marked gendered division of labour and it is predominately women’s time that is stretched between work in the unpaid economy and the paid economy. The terms ‘double day’ and ‘second shift’ have been used to describe the phenomena of increasing numbers of women who are income earners yet at the same time continue to perform their traditional roles as household managers and care providers. While the paid and unpaid economies are interdependent there are also fundamental differences.

However, while these models may be an improvement on unitary models they still have many shortcomings. In particular the ideology of individualism which underlies these models has been increasingly questioned. Sen (1990) argues that women and other oppressed people may not have an accurate sense of their own interests while Nelson (1996) argues that a parent’s care may be better understood as a ‘commitment’ rather than an action motivated by their own interests. While still a long way from a well-developed, non-individualistic model of the family, the game theoretic approach has begun to shift economists’ views of the household so that inequalities in power and wealth among household members cannot be as easily ignored nor can the household be treated as an undifferentiated optimising unit (Folbre, 1994).

Gendered social norms play a significant role in creating a sense of responsibility which may compensate for or even outweigh monetary reward. The motivation of self interest, the extent of which is exaggerated even in the paid labour market, makes little sense when applied to situations in which work is not directly rewarded at all (Folbre and Weisskopf, 1998). Again, unpaid labour is distinctive insofar as a lot of the work cannot be delegated to others. As discussed later in this book, many aspects of caring work are non-commodifiable.

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