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Making Care Count

A Century of Gender, Race, and Paid Care Work

Mignon Duffy

Publication Year: 2011

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 servicesùdrawing 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.

Published by: Rutgers University Press


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p. vii


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pp. ix-x

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pp. xi-xiii

I find it a bit difficult to know where to start to thank the many people who have been part of this book in one way or another. Since this is a book about care, it seems appropriate to begin with my own circle of care. My parents, Michael and D’Neil Duffy, are my rock and foundation in every way. Their role in making this book a possibility began long before I ever dreamed of ...

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pp. 1-8

In every society, children have to be raised—taught whatever they need to know to survive in their particular time and place. They also have to be fed,bathed, diapered, and taken care of when they are sick or hurt. Homes need to be maintained, kitchens need to be stocked and cleaned, meals need to be prepared, and clothing needs to be laundered. People who are elderly, ill, or ...

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Chapter 1- Conceptualizing Care

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pp. 9-19

Supreme Court Justice Potter Stewart famously said that although he could not provide a clear definition of pornography, “I know it when I see it.”1 In many ways, the same could be said of “care work.” The term has become something of a buzzword among scholars and advocates, and it is often used in ways that assume a shared implicit understanding of what care is. However, as...

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Chapter 2-Domestic Workers: Many Hands, Heavy Work

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pp. 20-41

In her well-known fictional portrayal of nineteenth-century family life, Home, Catharine Maria Sedgwick explains that the family “did not regard their servant as a hireling, but as a member of the family, who, from her humble position in it, was entitled to their protection and care.”1 Maria W.Stewart, an African American women’s rights activist who had worked as a...

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Chapter 3- Transforming Nurturance, Creating Expert Care

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pp. 42-74

As domestic service saw a precipitous decline in the twentieth century,other forms of paid care work were expanding just as sharply. Hospitals and medical centers became the primary delivery sites of health care, which meant a growing number of positions for doctors, nurses, and other specializedhealth-care workers. As more and more children attended school, the number...

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Chapter 4- Managing Nurturant Care in the New Economy

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pp. 75-112

By the middle of the twentieth century, the notion of expert care was well established, and a range of occupational roles had been defined (or redefined) to provide that care. In the second half of the century, population growth and demographic trends continued to expand the demand for care services, and paid care grew exponentially. Paid nurturant care work is not only crucial for...

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Chapter 5- Doing the Dirty Work

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pp. 113-128

Because racial-ethnic divisions in paid reproductive labor have been organized in part along a spiritual-menial continuum, focusing only on nurturant care leaves out the jobs at the menial end, where racial-ethnic workers are most concentrated. Cleaning, food, and laundry workers are important to a complete picture of racial-ethnic stratification in paid care.1...

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Chapter 6- Making Care Count

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pp. 129-145

A colleague once commented to me during a discussion about care: “You know, all these years feminists were trying to convince us that care was work—then care theorists started trying to convince us that care was something unique and entirely distinct. Maybe we had it right the first time.” Many care scholars share the same goal: to raise public recognition of and societal rewards...

Appendix: Data and Methods

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pp. 147-152


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pp. 153-175


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pp. 177-185

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About the Author

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p. 186

Mignon Duffy is an assistant professor of sociology and a faculty associate ofthe Center for Women and Work at the University of Massachusetts, Lowell....

E-ISBN-13: 9780813550770
E-ISBN-10: 0813550777
Print-ISBN-13: 9780813549606
Print-ISBN-10: 0813549604

Page Count: 204
Illustrations: 1 table, 33 graphs
Publication Year: 2011

OCLC Number: 768731991
MUSE Marc Record: Download for Making Care Count

Research Areas


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Subject Headings

  • Service industries workers -- United States.
  • Caregivers -- United States.
  • Household employees -- United States.
  • Social service -- United States.
  • Sexual division of labor -- United States.
  • Paid care workers.
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