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    From housewife to domestic goddess and beyond: an exploration into the significance of women’s role as food providers in a contemporary Irish context


    Phipps, Mary (2015) From housewife to domestic goddess and beyond: an exploration into the significance of women’s role as food providers in a contemporary Irish context. PhD thesis, National University of Ireland Maynooth.

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    Abstract

    This thesis is centrally concerned with issues of gender equality in relation to food work in families, in the context of social change in contemporary Ireland. Through the lens of food work it traces how this work as a specific aspect of gendered roles has evolved historically and is enacted in contemporary Ireland and what implication change in this role may have for gender equity in both public and private spheres. In a legacy from the past women are associated with ‘love and emotional’ labour in families despite their increasing engagement in paid employment on a par with men presenting challenges for equality to pursue their goals. I examine this work using qualitative methods in four stages, focus groups, in-depth interviews, participant observation and food diaries with thirty eight participants, thirty five women and three men. I focus on how this role is perceived and negotiated in families and what factors impact on how it is carried out. Women are variously ‘apprenticed’ into food work by family members or through diverse experiences. As a family practice cooking is ‘done’ by individuals who bring their tacit knowledge and skills to this task. Social values, rituals, socialisation and connection are enacted through eating together where family is also displayed. Increased pressure is brought to bear on this work through lack of consistent nutritional advice, support, and control at policy level. Changes in food production, fast food usage, and food scares all have implications for health, adding challenges for food work. Overall, women display power and control of consumption practices through their knowledge and planning. An increasing engagement of men in family cooking also offers a tentative change for doing gender differently opening up opportunities for egalitarian food practices and responsibility and positive signals for gender equity over time.

    Item Type: Thesis (PhD)
    Keywords: housewife; domestic goddess; women’s role; food providers; contemporary Irish context;
    Academic Unit: Faculty of Social Sciences > Sociology
    Item ID: 7088
    Depositing User: IR eTheses
    Date Deposited: 26 Apr 2016 16:10
    URI:

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