Motherhood and the spirit of the new capitalism.
Capitalism is and always has been brutal ... Whenever there has been change, people have been ground up. People like stability, so to get them to leave a dying industry or whatever, you have to burn them ... [By way of analogy, farmers] had to be hammered before they'd get off the land, had to really be hurt ... 'The old labour-intensive way of caring for children is no longer viable.' (1) Are we OK with the fact that baby may say his first word to the childcare worker, and grandma her last word to the nursing home aide? (2)
A Good Weekend feature in 2002 depicted a woman lawyer conducting a 10 pm international phone conference. (3) An unremarkable event, except that while making 'pithy remarks' in a 'steady voice' she was also on all fours, rocking back and forth in premature labour with her first child and suppressing moans of pain. She had 'promised herself months earlier that having a baby would not compromise her career. During her pregnancy she had worked even longer hours than usual to prove her commitment to the job ... [She] didn't want to be the one who ended [the conference call] ... "you'll look like a wuss"'. (4)
How do we 'read' such a story? As an example of women's liberation to lives not dominated by biology but centred on achievement in jobs once reserved for men? Or as an example of a mother whose participation in the corporate world comes at a high price--of 'managing like a man', despite her female embodiment; obeying and internalizing the Stakhanovite work norms of the globalizing new capitalism?
My argument in this article is that anyone who thinks the great movement of women into the workforce, the dismantling of old meanings of motherhood, and the accompanying transformation of the landscape of childhood, is solely about women's emancipation--on women's own terms--is living with their eyes wide shut. The contemporary redefinition of motherhood is instead profoundly shaped by the new capitalism.
What are the constituents of the new capitalism that we need to consider? The 'new capitalism' is the term coined by Richard Sennett in his landmark study The Corrosion of Character: The Personal Consequences of Work in the New Capitalism. (5) As Anglo-American societies have transformed from economies based on production, especially manufacturing, to service-based, high-consumption ones, a new 'risk society' has developed. Consistent labour shedding has produced a treacherous workplace culture of 'no long-term'. An atmosphere of 'dull continual worry' accompanies the process where 'perfectly viable businesses are gutted or abandoned, capable employees set adrift rather than rewarded simply because the organisation must prove to the market that it was capable of change'. (6) A hand-grenade of insecurity has been thrown at previous assumptions of predictable, life-long careers. In a workplace marked by the importance of weak ties (where fleeting forms of association are more useful to people than long-term connections), 'detachment and superficial cooperativeness' are 'better armour' than personal qualities like reciprocity, mutual commitment, trust and loyalty. The labour market has bifurcated into two strands--a highly paid, highly skilled group working within a long-hours culture, and those who are part of what Ulrich Beck calls the Brazilianization of the labour market; a vast army of low-paid, insecure workers who, among other things, service the former as house cleaners, gardeners, nannies, daycare workers and dog walkers. (7)
In the new capitalism, consumption is absolutely central. It is a shift not just of economic activity but of sensibility, away from delayed gratification as part of the Protestant work ethic and towards the hedonism of high consumption. As the sociologist Zygmunt Bauman observes, the code of the producer/soldier has been replaced by one belonging to the 'hedonistic sensation gatherer'. (8) Those on the wrong side of globalization, like the unemployed, are transgressors not only of the contemporary ethic of work but also the ethic of spending. They are flawed consumers.
The new 'necessity' for families to have more than one wage-earning adult is integral to 'influenza', the luxury fever of conspicuous consumption. Social commentators like Robert Frank and Clove Hamilton provide portraits of the first mass affluent class in history. (9) A few examples will suffice. Houses in the United States are now twice as big as those in the 1950s and have twice as many bathrooms as the 1970s. In Australia, as the average dwelling size swelled to 250 square metres, the average number of people living within them shrank to 2.6. The average Sydney mortgage in 2002 was around $1,200 a month. (10) Although rarely made explicit, the new capitalism is contingent on a trade-off: higher productivity is translated not into more time with families but more hours worked per family per year to service our consumption habit. (11) In France, for example, workers have more family time via a shorter working week and average seven weeks of holidays per year, but slightly lower consumption patterns (although still a very high standard of living) compared with the United States where they have less than four weeks annual leave, but bigger cars, houses and disposable incomes. (12)
In the new capitalism, too, the meaning of work has changed. It has been socialized. 'More and more, work enlists good conscience on its side. The desire for joy already calls itself a "need to recuperate" and is beginning to be ashamed of itself.' (13) As Ulrich Beck writes in The Brave New World of Work, the 'dominion of work' has triumphed--there is a new 'totalitarian value cycle of work' to the exclusion of all else. The title of a recent book summed it up, Better Than Sex: How a Whole Generation Became Hooked on Work. (14) So little in life is opposed to it; 'to such an extent', Beck argues, 'that almost no alternative remains ... The biblical curse--that only those who work shall eat--has become the work morality grounding human existence; only those who work are truly human'. (15)
Those aspects outlined above--the new 'risk' society, high consumption patterns, the socialization but simultaneous destabilizing of work--all make it unsurprising that the new capitalism has thrown up, even demanded, a new family model. Even when presided over by social conservatives like Australia's Prime Minister John Howard, the imperatives of the new economy are at least in tension, but more often in direct conflict with the single-income male breadwinner model. 'Individualism and choice are supposed to stop abruptly at the boundaries of the family and national identity. But nothing is more dissolving of tradition than the permanent revolution of market forces.' (16)
Yet the new family type is hardly supported by recent changes to the labour market or state services. An 'efficient' economy in a globalizing marketplace is characterized by the contraction, not expansion, of state spending. Any deviation from that contraction risks swift and devastating punishment by the international monetary market. Most notably for this article, the central aim of reducing state spending has affected both the quality, affordability and availability of childcare services.
When two wage earners are juggling both care and work, they require an updated, re-regulated labour market to reflect modern realities, such as job-protected, extended parental leave; leave to care for sick children or the elderly; and the right to part-time work. Despite Howard's declaration that the stress of the dual-wage-earning family is the 'great barbecue stopper', the Australian government has refused both the Human Rights and Equal Opportunity Commission's (HREOC) recommendation for three months of paid maternity leave and that of the Industrial Relations Commission to extend parental leave to two years. Instead it has obeyed the dictates of the new capitalism--a core aspect of which is the deregulation of the labour market. Hence the most significant reform of 2005 has been the harsh new industrial relations laws.
In consequence, the model of the dual-earning 'symmetrical family' is inseparable from the process Fredric Jameson alluded to as the essence of late capitalism: the transformation of even private relations into commodities bought and sold in the marketplace: 'the prodigious expansion of capital into hitherto uncommodified areas'. (17) All this makes for a highly interesting relationship between the new capitalism and feminism and what Sandra Farganis calls the 'reconstitution of the feminine character', especially with respect to motherhood. (18)
Arlie Hochschild's powerful essay, The Commercial Spirit of Intimate Life and the Abduction of Feminism: Signs from Women's Advice Books, suggests:
Just as Protestantism, according to Max Weber, 'escaped from the cage' of the Church to be transposed into an inspirational 'sprit of capitalism' that drove men to make money and build capitalism, so feminism may be 'escaping the cage' of a social movement to buttress a commercial spirit of intimate life that was originally separate from and indeed alien to it. Just as market conditions ripened the soil for capitalism, so a weakened family prepares the soil for a commercialised spirit of domestic life. (19)
Hochschild's focus is on how the emancipatory potential of the women's liberation movement may be in the process of being abducted to legitimize a central aspect of the new capitalism--'the commercialisation of intimate life'. Bauman, too, points to the ways that 'liberation rhetoric' often merely disguises what is really going on: namely, the commercialization of relationships previously outside the 'cash nexus'.
The American conservative Irving Kristol once observed, 'feminism today is a far more potent enemy of capitalism than radical trade unionism'. (20) My sense is, rather, of the easy incorporation of mainstream feminism into the emerging economic regime. (21) From a complex social movement, one particular voice--one emphasizing paid work--has been selected out by the new capitalism as representative of feminism, rather than the voices of those social or maternal feminists who also emphasize the need to transform our contemporary devaluation of the world of care. (22) That process partly defused the genuinely emancipatory potential of feminism, and ensured that the mainstream agenda would occur not on women's terms but on existing economic terms, the terms of the new capitalism.
No ground has proved more fertile for commercialization, for the extension of the cash nexus, than the private realm vacated by women. The market now largely provides for elder care. A mother's love--once one of Western Christendom's deepest conceptions of love--is being transformed into the profit-based service of childcare, largely provided by giant corporate chains like KinderCare Learning centres in the United States and ABC Learning centres in Australia. Childhood under the new capitalism is being profoundly reshaped. If early capitalism introduced mass compulsory schooling, the new capitalism has seen the extension of institutional life over early childhood, for even babies and toddlers. All this may gain ideological legitimacy from feminism and the rhetoric of women's emancipation, but the practical realities are derived from the work-and-spend drive of the new turbo-charged capitalism.
That is to say, the identification of feminism with paid work and Progress can blind us to a much deeper transformation at the heart of the new capitalism, what Jurgen Habermas calls the colonization of our life-world by the values of the market. (23) Such values and assumptions seep inexorably into every cultural pore, penetrating every relationship, however intimate. As Raimond Gaita has commented, because of its connection to meaning, the language we use matters. If a certain kind of language, appropriate to the very different space of the marketplace, is used, then certain meanings will become dead to us. Market language radically alters the way we see relationships, love, intimacy, Motherlove and children in the life-world. The rawness of a mother's feelings about leaving a baby in childcare, for example, becomes masked by bland phrases which bleach out emotion, such as 'balancing work and family', quality childcare services, quality time, and quality accreditation programs. The intensity and particularity of parental love becomes merely 'home-based childcare'. Market language, then, fundamentally transforms the realm of meaning.
Both mothers in and outside the paid workforce are caught in a web of the cultural contradictions thrown up by the new capitalism. The growing charge against the mother outside the paid labour force is the same as that levelled at the unemployed: one of parasitism--not contributing to the economy. As demonstrated with mothers on welfare, the accusation is that women at home do nothing. Mothers, by investing in persons rather than things, may do work of great social value. Yet it is a few short steps from assessing a mother's work as devoid of market value to seeing it having no value--to the idea that such mothers are people without value. One newspaper editorial said point blank that mothers are more valuable to society as workers than stay-at-home mums. Another headline in 2005 screamed: 'Costello: Get Mums Working', delivering Federal Treasurer Peter Costello's blunt message to single mothers to return to work once their children are at school. (24) That mothers at home 'do nothing' has inflections of Sennett's judgment that to be 'passive' in the new capitalism is to 'wither'. (25) The sense is that one must keep moving and developing oneself. Children do not count on a curriculum vitae. The mood of the modern mother is one of 'anxiety ridden self-improvement', writes Julie Stephens. 'Scratch a new capitalist mother and you will find anxious references to performing motherhood expertly, efficiently and competently and the desire to do more exercise.' (26) There is very little sense that any 'self-improvement' might come from honouring the ethic of care. A mother at home, by putting her non-market identity first, has transgressed just about every contemporary code: of self-fulfilment, of self-development, of being economically productive and independent. 'I feel shame about being at home as a mother', one interviewee with postgraduate qualifications remarked to Barbara Pocock. 'For that six hours when they are at school, I don't sit down. I feel anxious. I have to be productive.' (27)
It is 'unthinkable', says Robert Karen, 'for a middle-class woman in America now not to have a job'. 'Unthinkable' is a very interesting word. Our 'thinking as usual' constitutes the social construction of reality by becoming 'naturalized', invisible, beyond the reach of reflection and critique. The newly 'unthinkable' quality of the homemaker's life is at least as much an 'achievement' of the new capitalism as it is of feminism.
Working motherhood is also shaped by the logic of the market. To have a proper, respectable middle-class identity now, for women as much as men, depends upon the narrative of work, the story of a career. However, the devaluation of the non-market world of care in new capitalism hinders working mothers' private struggles with men over 'the second shift' of domestic labour, while at work there is precious little structural change to accommodate workers with care responsibilities. (28) And then there is the emphasis on performance. One recent Australian study found 'being fit and in control are key concepts for pregnant and postpartum women of the dual earning middle-class'. (29) In another Australian study of high-earning women with a strongly individualist orientation, one said, 'We've always had a full time place at creche whether we use it or not, because we cannot afford not to have it. Everything's ordered and organised for work'. (30) Another mother put it this way: 'People who do not work and live this life do not understand what it is like to have to run your household like a business, your partner like a business. Everything's run like a business because you cannot afford in any way or form to get it wrong because there's a chain reaction'. (31)
Australians coined a shorthand, colloquial term for the new capitalism during the 1980s: 'economic rationalism'. Sure enough, time given to motherhood is increasingly seen as economically irrational. It represents what economists call 'an opportunity cost'.
As a woman does not work during certain periods, less working experience is accumulated. Moreover during periods of non-participation, the human capital stock suffers from additional depreciation due to a lack of maintenance. This effect is known as atrophy. (32)
The British feminist economist Heather Joshi, while giving birth, calculated between contractions just how much women lose economically by pausing for motherhood. She concluded that 'lifetime earnings would be 57 per cent lower than if they had not taken a break'. (33) As the power and coherence of a market identity grows, motherhood becomes a loss and a lack, something to surmount. Baroness Margaret Thatcher, architect of the resurgence of free market principles in Britain, was reported to have looked down upon her newborn twins and sworn 'not to be overcome by this. Like a hostile foreign power or the enemy within, motherhood was a force to be reckoned with, wrestled with and finally overcome'. She also claimed her children only got sick on weekends. (34)
Another aspect of the penetration of private life by market relations concerns the process whereby mothers, as well as fathers, are integrated into a new time consciousness.
Male-styled careers introduce women to a new form of time consciousness; it is not age measured against beauty ... but age measured against achievement ... Time is objectified in the academic vita, which grows longer with each article and book, and not with each vegetable garden, camping trip, political meeting or child ... What is won for the garden is lost to the vita. (35)
The new capitalism places enormous pressure on mothers to get their children and themselves onto a schedule of efficient time management as speedily as possible. This treatment of time is in sharp contradiction with those particular qualities of 'women's time' Julie Kristeva has discussed, and the spontaneous, messy and unbounded qualities of life with children, which others have explored. (36)
Forcing last century's peasantry into the unfamiliar austerity of industrial time to become wage labourers was no easy matter. (37) As the return to work comes ever earlier, so too is it difficult to impose the discipline of new capitalist time on the unruly bodily rhythms of a breast-feeding mother and her baby. So many memoirs on the nestling phase of motherhood utilize imagery drawn not from the march of linear time but from slowness or even temporal anarchy. Sue Gerhardt, in Why Love Matters, likens it to swimming slowly under water. (38) In my own memoir of early motherhood, (39) I invoked the experience of travelling by Indian railway, where nothing arrives 'on time'. Jules Henry has noted that,
The cultural configuration of time demands our submission, it requires that we renounce impulses that interfere with it. This is the austerity of time ... Although most people in our culture restrain the desire to wander from the compelling path of time, they are naturally unaware of the enormous amount of training they need as children to prevent them from doing so. (40)
Obedience to industrial time is behind the growing use of the contemporary technique of 'controlled crying' (leaving a baby to cry), particularly among young urban professionals. (41) This is an example of the dictatorship of the economy over human needs, for a baby is 'hard-wired to connect', pro-social from its earliest days, and 'programmed' (to continue the Cyborg metaphor) to seek contact with human partners. A baby's irreducible human needs include prompt emotional responsiveness and security, particularly in the first few weeks and months of life. It takes about three years for a small child's sleep patterns--if not forced--to stabilize. (42) As one young mother, partnered by a high-earning professional, said to me, 'I need him on a sleep schedule because I have to get back to work'. If in many pre-modern societies sleeping with babies is the norm, new capitalist infants must put themselves to sleep and learn to manage their own need for comfort. One of the many rationales for controlled crying is that the baby will otherwise not 'separate' and learn 'boundaries'. As this mother I was speaking to said fearfully, 'He will become dependent'.
In Hochschild's perceptive essay on women's advice books, she highlights a 'cool modern' theme: women are exhorted to act as their own counsellors and manage their feelings of requiring care. The message is that women must care for themselves because no one else will. The new ideal is ultimately of feeling less to better facilitate the survival of the self. The identity represented in many advice books was of the lone postmodern cowgirl who could depend and be depended on by no one. Separateness and detachment are the ideal, not deep connection with others.
The valorization of separation is also the leitmotif of recent feminist psychoanalytic contributions. For example, Elaine Tuttle Hansen, the author of a literary text called Mother Without Child, notes approvingly that in Madelon Sprengnether's recent revision of Freud's work the 'separation of mother and child should be considered as a fundamental in human development in a positive way'. (43) According to Sprengnether, 'Mother's desire leads her away from her infant, and her absence in turn elicits the child's creativity'. (44) Likewise, Tuttle Hansen tells us, as if lifting from the annals of the new capitalism:
[A]n important part of being a good mother by today's popular standards as experts and mothers will attest ... entails preparing the child, from the moment of birth, for independence from caretakers, and thus ... engaging in a relationship whose goal is greater disengagement, distance, or even dissolution. (45)
Hochschild has also remarked on the pressure on modern mothers to 'recycle the feeling rules' of the 1950s' middle-class corporate man. (46) A good example comes from The Bitch in the House, where Kristin van Ogtrop describes herself, much as a man from the middle of last century might, as much nicer and more caring at the office than at home.
Here are a few things people have said about me at the office: 'you're unflappable.' 'Are you ever in a bad mood?' ... 'You're good at finessing things so people don't boil over.' Here are things people--OK, the members of my family--have said about me at home: 'Mommy is always grumpy.' 'Why are you so tense?' 'You're too mean to live in this house and I want you to go back to work for the rest of your life!' (47)
Ruefully she observes, 'I had not become my mother, I was my father with ovaries'. (48)
Work is an emotionally inexpressive, 'cool' domain where little of one's private life is meant to intrude. It is within our family life that we are to express, process and contain all the messy, wilder emotions disavowed at work. Such a division of realms has had profound implications for the private world--particularly as the hastening speed and intensification of work have 'jumped the fence', and begun to dominate family life.
The Time Bind: The Taylorization of Family Life
In the early part of the last century, an engineering genius called Frederick Taylor first attempted to apply the scientific management of time to enhance business efficiency and profitability. He studied a steel worker, Schmidt, by measuring and quantifying the arc and speed of his shovel swing, the weight of each scoop, and the number of rest periods needed. By controlling every aspect of his movements, Taylor could increase fourfold the quantity of coal Schmidt shovelled. Such rationalization of process to create greater efficiency we now often call Taylorization.
Central to the new capitalism is a seismic value shift 'when work becomes home and home becomes work'. It is this value shift that is the focus of Hochschild's brilliant book The Time Bind. (49) Deftly deploying the concept of Taylorization, Hochschild found that family life is undergoing a process whereby a cult of efficiency has leapt the fence of the workplace and entered the home. An astute social observer like Sennett, she gets inside the social relations of the new capitalism. Hochschild investigated an American information technology company she calls 'Amerco', where even with family-friendly policies the 'emotional magnets between home and workplace were in the process of being reversed'. (50) Workers, including women, fled the mess, dirty laundry, and unfinished quarrels of the home for the 'managed cheer of work'. (51)
Family life has suffered as a consequence. When women do more market work, the labour of the 'shadow care economy'--'the invisible heart' as Nancy Folbre calls it (52)--is most often not filled by men. Hence, we get not a reorganization of the family nest but an emptying of it. The child-centred feminist Julie Stephens recorded: 'As one notable feminist commentator and researcher said on ABC [Radio National's] Life Matters, she wouldn't be able to choose between her children and her work'. (53) One mother wistfully told me about the temptation of letting her children spend too many hours in after-school care: 'You feel so important at work ...'
As Hochschild says:
The more women and men do what they do in exchange for money and the more their work is honoured, the more, almost by definition, private life is devalued and its boundaries shrink. For women as well as men, work in the marketplace is less often a simple economic fact than a complex cultural value. If in the early part of the century it was considered unfortunate that a woman had to work, it is now thought surprising when she doesn't. (54)
What Hochschild found was that the social world that held sway --work--imparted a deep patterning to time. The Time Bind explores how the speed-up of the private realm's industrial time has contributed to emptying the home as a place of pleasure, restoration and leisure. The more family hours given over to paid work, the more rushed, harried and strained--the more locked into the time bind--the private realm becomes. (55) The domestic 'juggling act' becomes so intense that the cultural value of work gains further strength by the sheer pleasurelessness of the former; the home becomes a place to escape from.
Furthermore, the internalization of the working life's norms and demands means those who promoted the speed-up, submitting themselves to a regime of self-surveillance, monitoring their home performance and constantly looking for improvements, were the parents themselves. They accept and reproduce the 'austerity of industrial time'. Hochschild found exhausted working mothers sitting on bathtubs, hurrying children while answering emails and checking mobile phone messages; cribbing time here, snipping some there; always with one eye on the clock. (56) All the necessary activities of family life--the meals and nurturing, the conversations, the bedtime rituals--are jammed into an ever-smaller block of time. If the problem for the 1950s housewife might have been too much time, this is a problem of too little.
In a brilliant example of the Taylorized family, Hochschild describes the new, popular idea of 'quality time' with children:
Quality time holds out the hope that scheduling intense periods of togetherness can compensate for an overall loss of time in such a way that the relationship will suffer no loss of quality. But this too is a way of transferring the cult of efficiency from office to home. Instead of nine hours a day with a child, we declare ourselves capable of getting the 'same result' with one more intensely focused total quality hour. As with Frederick Taylor and the hapless Schmidt, our family bonds are being recalibrated to achieve greater productivity in less time. (57)
In a convivial community and in family life, the cumulation of anticipation, the preparation, actual events, discussions and reflections afterwards all heighten emotional pleasure. Enjoyment and conviviality are inextricably part of the erratic movement of time, the juxtaposition of busyness with slowness, of harvest and fallow time. In the mad scramble to get everything done, what Hochschild calls 'framing' disappears--the invisible temporal architecture that gives greater weight and meaning to events. (More than one parent I know has caught themselves 'speed reading' a bedtime story to their child!)
As time becomes something to 'save' at home as much or even more than at work, domestic life becomes quite literally a second shift; a cult of efficiency, once centred in the workplace, is allowed to set up shop and make itself comfortable at home. Efficiency has become both a means to an end--more home life--and a way of life, an end in itself ... A surprising amount of family time has become a matter of efficiency assembling people into prefabricated activity slots. (58)
Australian television advertisements play on the time bind to sell goods, from packet dinners to those 'intelligent' appliances like washing machines that help the working mother because no one else will. Hochschild gives some American examples. One, for 'mom's who have a lot of love but not a lot of time', reads: 'Nicky is a very picky eater. With instant Quaker Oatmeal I can give him a terrific hot breakfast in just 90 seconds. And I don't have to spend any time coaxing him to eat it!' (59)
Another response by time use experts like Jonathon Gershuny is to recategorize parental time with children such that it only counts when it is face-to-face time spent in directly child-centred activities, rather like a business appointment. This conceals the decline in the 'quantity' of time with parents that children are really experiencing. As the British writer Jayne Buxton remarks, it is not only the face-to-face that matters: 'My own would much rather me around all day, even if I am cooking and doing loads of washing for much of it, than have me for just one "quality" hour at the end of every day'. (60)
Taylorization of the home is experienced everywhere the dual-income family has taken root. Buxton describes the life of Supermothers like Tina Brown when she was editor of The New Yorker magazine. A mother of two, Brown rose at 5.30 am for her daily run, dropped her daughter at school before a breakfast meeting at 8.15 am, worked until 5.45 pm, when she left to have supper with the children and work until 12.30 am. She never socialized with friends. (61)
Reading about such lives--let alone living them--is enough to give one motion sickness. The overwhelming impression is of women on stationary exercise bicycles pedalling furiously, as though their lives depended on it. Some people only feel half alive unless living like this, of course, but many others look back with regret once they get off the bicycle. Many women confessed to Buxton that they hated maintaining the front of the Superwoman but felt powerless to do otherwise.
British journalist Yvonne Roberts is suspicious of the mantra of 'managed mothering' uttered by successful women:
There is so much silence about this. You hear women talking about juggling and managing, pretending life runs smoothly, when it is in fact chaos behind the scenes. Exhaustion followed by a crisis, then a period of partial recovery, then renewed commitment to the treadmill, followed by more exhaustion. You never really recover. And eventually it all gives way. (62)
It would be a great pity if earlier feminist critiques of 'the rat race' were to give way to a nearly exclusive emphasis on breaking glass ceilings, compartmentalizing feelings about children, and downsizing empathy in order to cope. Unfortunately, this is increasingly the case in even the very early nestling phase.
The Taylorization of Early Motherhood
There was inefficiency, waste ... What was needed was a simple product that moved from start to completion in a streamlined path.
Ray Kroc, founder of McDonald's. (63)
Not so long ago a lawyer of my acquaintance, involved in a phone conference, heard a strange squeaking noise. A fellow lawyer confessed. It was her baby, born seven hours ago, already held by the nanny while her mother got on with the business of closing a big deal. Not even for this one day of her life was this woman out of the reach of work. Little allowance is now made for what British childbirth activist Sheila Kitzinger called the period of 'babymoon', that time of special cherishing of the new human in our midst. (64)
Such logic is behind the rise of 'career Caesareans'. (65) In Australia as elsewhere, increasing numbers of women are disciplining the irrationality of birth; no messy waiting for baby to determine his or her own arrival, or long hours of contractions to dilate the cervix sufficiently. No one knowing the history of women's reproductive health should romanticize 'natural' birth in the 'good old days', but its Taylorization is not undertaken to save lives or reduce pain and risk to the baby. Instead, the career Caesarean, where a woman is unavailable by mobile telephone for only a few hours, is organized for maximum control and efficiency. In the world of the nanosecond, just as the conveyor belt of cars moves swiftly through the 'drive-thru' at McDonald's, so are modern mothers carried by the conveyor belt of birth, into the operating theatre, unzipped and dumped back at work shortly thereafter.
In the Taylorized culture of instantaneity it is a virtue for a mother to return to work ever faster. Australian journalist Sally Loane tells of a fellow journalist who did not even tell her London-based employers she was pregnant: 'When I visited her in the hospital room, she was on the phone. A business writer finished her weekly column as she went into labour with her first child, another high-powered public relations executive resumed work from her hospital bed'. (66)
The modern workplace demands a childless world. Small wonder that Loane notes the 'mantra of my generation was that motherhood wouldn't change our lives'. (67) Her identity, formed within private girls' schools, universities, and workplaces, was centred on paid work. She remembers 'struggling against allowing my pregnancies to show back at work'. Loane squeezed back into 'sleek suits three months after giving birth' and 'perfected the art of the seamless entry and re-entry to work'. (68)
The remarks of Gerry Harvey, chairman of electrical retail giant Harvey Norman, show how men can rapidly install such behaviour as a norm. Harvey told his wife Katie, the company's merchandizing director, 'that he wanted her back at work within seven days of the birth of their second child'. She was, and it was 'a damn good example for all those other women who have babies'. His wife 'slips them out and they are good solid kids'. Harvey said, 'career women who go off for three to six months may well not have that job when they come back because someone else will be slotted in there'. (69) Likewise Lawrence Mead, a New Right guru and architect of the United States' Welfare to Work policies, boasted when visiting Australia that most American mothers are back at work six weeks after birth.
If the most desirable goal for birth in a Taylorized society is speedy delivery and efficient return, like the fast-food factory itself, the hidden agenda is subversion of the purpose of having a baby--welcoming a new person--and concealment of children's presence by minimizing their intrusion in the workplace. The ideal employee is without human attachments or obligations, preferably childless. 'I was keen to prove I could have a baby and return to work--almost as if nothing had happened--as though this was a badge of honour', writes Loane. (70) Subjecting central life experiences to a speed-up can result in a flatter, less emotional, more superficial style. (71) Thus Loane found herself giving three-word answers to inquiries about her children's well-being in childcare: 'Oh, fine thanks'. 'It was not a subject over which I believed I should linger.' (72)
The owner-manager of a legal staff recruitment agency, Lisa Gazis, described the shock of being at home with a new baby compared with the valued, predictable universe of work. 'No one had prepared me for what happens.' She 'never really stopped working ... right up until she gave birth, and then began drafting resumes and taking calls from clients in hospital. Once she came home she worked by fax'. Her work had a frisson, a status, an Eros home did not: 'The urge to come back is just too great,' she says, 'it is almost exciting to be back'. For her next baby, she 'will have another Caesarean, put the baby straight on the bottle and be back at work ...' (73)
Compared to the brevity and business-like tone, shorn of emotion, in relation to her baby, Gazis described relations with her workplace and clients in the language of attachment and connectedness: 'It's a competitive business and people expect a personal service. I was distancing myself from my clients ...' (74) It is not a problem to distance oneself from the messy and intimate care of a baby, to use substitute care. 'I didn't want to be out if it for too long ... you lose touch very easily.' (75) It is not a problem to bottle-feed rather than breast-feed because one might lose the 'touch' of skin-on-skin intimacy between mother and baby. Loane tells of mothers in corporate offices, Armani suit jackets flung open, pumping breast milk for the nanny to administer. (76) Here the emotional work of 'being there' for clients is privileged and paramount while 'being there', or 'in touch' or not 'distancing oneself' from a child is relegated to one of the 'never saids' of the discourse. It has become an outside question.
In much of our public conversation, returning to work early is embraced uncritically, often demonstrated by celebrity mothers like Cherie Blair. While such celebration moves against the old cultural scripts which allowed so little movement for women outside motherhood, this makes us slow to see that it is a 'freedom' demanding a much deeper submission to the norms of Taylorization. How little such patterns really are on women's own terms. How roughly, brutally, they move around birth, early infancy and the nestling phase. Melissa Benn remembers:
As a new mother ... I had been back to work within weeks of birth, resentfully taking transatlantic calls at some unearthly hour of the night on some article ... This was at a time when all I wanted to do was to gaze at my new baby girl and not worry about money or the outside world, or whether I was still considered a serious person 'out there'. (77)
What begins as a right can quickly become an obligation. And a right asserted by the privileged often looks very different in the lives of the powerless. That is certainly true of welfare mothers forced to return to work--in some American states as early as twelve weeks after birth--and who can only afford substandard childcare. If some women are choosing to do it, it is easy to establish such 'choices' as the proper 'norm' (as with Gerry Harvey's wife cited above). Thus with a clear conscience we can pressure women to leave hospital before they are ready, to save government money, and we can call it one more step on the way to women's emancipation.
Women--particularly the well-educated--are increasingly organizing their lives in terror of even a momentary career deviation, let alone a hiatus down the motherhood cul de sac for a decade. Kate Tully, Sydney-based author and journalist spoke of,
... young women who put off having children because it would hinder their work ... [W]hen they have a baby they worry about how to keep going ever upward and not skip a beat. There is very much a sense that they will lose their position on the career ladder. There's no appreciation that they might actually enjoy parenting, because they've never been allowed to consider it. (78)
There is of course a certain irrationality to all this rationality. Before and after birth a great deal of important emotional work needs to be done by parents to establish the fundamental relationships to a child's sense of themselves and the world. There is very good evidence that one cannot really 'speed it up' without consequence. 'If there is no space in the mother's mind for the baby, the baby will struggle with feelings of abandonment and rejection', according to Dr Susan Taryan. 'Unless you provide for the baby to have that intimate closeness from some other person, then there is no space for the baby to develop properly.' (79) Taryan could be echoing Jameson's argument about the 'waning of affect' when she suggests,
I think there is going to be a price to pay for all this. We may be rearing a society in which warm feelings, contact and emotion are difficult for the next generation to handle. (80)
Men, Women and the Hidden Hierarchy of Time
Underlying this discussion is the fact that modern mothers are entering workplaces designed last century for men with wives at home. The separation of private and public spheres began with the presumed 'player off-field' helping those 'on the field'. It is partly a result of those separate spheres that male and female time has been perceived differently. In the male culture of work, men are expected to give--attentiveness and energy. But they expect to receive these things at home from the woman in their life. Where both partners work, women need to challenge those domestic privileges, which often go on unexamined as male entitlement. Male and female time has been not only complementary, it has also been hierarchical. If paid work and the public role have been valued more than family work, then the time of men has also been considered more important, valuable, and perhaps even sacred:
The phenomenon of 'Don't disturb Daddy' is familiar to many of us. Men's boundaries are sensed and respected by others. A man can create a separate enclave even within his own home. We see this most easily with Dad reading the newspaper or watching news and sports on television; Dad 'working' at something either brought home or a household repair of some sort; Dad taking a nap and everyone being instructed by Mother to tiptoe around and not disturb him. There is an acceptance that men need privacy and that entering those invisible boundaries is a serious business with serious consequences for the intruder. (81)
Ulrich Beck points out that if the new capitalism and individualization brings contradictions with women's traditional role, valuing paid work and devaluing family work, men are in a different situation. The fetishization of paid work undermines women's traditional roles but reinforces men's. Constant labour shedding, the new 'no long term' in the workplace, declining levels of full-time male employment, the long-hours culture, the contempt for the unemployed, all enhance men's traditional roles. (82)
The movement of freewheeling, expressive individualism--to challenge existing mores, to chart one's life course and the 'just do it' culture--also underpin this. At a time when the obligations within the family most need to be shared, the values of freedom and individual autonomy that have fuelled the women's movement have also offered men ways out of family obligation.
Little wonder then, in the absence of much change in gender roles at home, the new capitalist family must outsource some of its domestic labour. It is into this 'Time Bind' that another group of women enter, only this time, at the servant's entrance.
The New Victorian Family
In the light of Jameson's point about the reach of commodification, middle-class working women are now 'pioneers on the commodification frontier'. Simply put, one radical transformation in the new capitalism is the contracting out of family work. 'The time starved mother is increasingly forced more and more to choose between being a parent and buying a commodified version of parenthood from someone else.' (83) Although the emphasis of feminism has been on the exploitation of women's invisible labour, that labour can also be seen as one of the last vestiges of a reciprocal relationship outside the cash nexus. It is an important transmitter of values, meanings and understandings outside market relationships. As women's formerly unpaid caring work is increasingly provided by the market, mothers confront new dilemmas.
Mothers found themselves confused when trying to sort out how much of that change was a blessing and how much a curse. Despite their uncertainty, it seemed to fall to women more than men to set limits on commercial 'violations' of domestic life ... To most Americans the mother still represents the heart and soul, the warmth and human kindness of family life, a brake on the forces of capitalism, and a protector of the family haven in what is still generally imagined as a heartless world. It is woman's symbolic role to preserve time for personal bonds, not spend money substituting for them. (84)
The fates of rich and poor women have drawn radically apart in the new capitalism. Women who take low-wage 'McJobs' often provide the support needed for other women to take up professional positions. In her 2004 essay, 'How Serfdom Saved the Women's Movement', Caitlin Flanagan pointed out how the professional woman's problem of housework had been resolved 'like magic, as though the fairy godmother of women's liberation had waved a starry wand [and] the whole problem got solved [by] the forces of global capitalism'. (85)
Such realities posed moral dilemmas for a movement that prided itself on egalitarianism. As Naomi Wolf bemoaned:
I never thought I would become one of those women who took up a foreordained place in a hierarchy of class and gender. Yet here we were, to my horror and complicity, shaping our new family structure along class and gender lines--daddy at work, mommy and caregiver from two different economic classes, sharing the baby work during the day. (86)
As Flanagan dryly observes, 'She had wanted a revolution; what she got was a Venezuelan'. (87)
Barbara Ehrenreich has also examined the politics of 'shit work'. In Nickel and Dimed, she writes about a year-long experiment of joining America's working poor. (88) The 'micro defeat of feminism in the household opened a new door for women, only this time it was the servants' entrance'. (89) Many of her friends in the women's movement, she noticed, had begun quietly hiring maids.
Disguising herself as an unskilled homemaker washed-up against the rocks of economic hardship by divorce, Ehrenreich scrounges a living of around seven dollars an hour. As a waitress in cheap eateries, working in a locked Alzheimer's ward, cleaning for Merry Maids, and stacking clothes in Wal-Mart, she gets inside the daily humiliations of working in what we cheerfully call the service industries.
Older forms of feminism pointed out that 'housework was not only a relationship between a woman and a dust bunny or an unmade bed; it also defined a relationship between human beings ... To make a mess that another person will deal with ... is to exert domination in one of its more silent and intimate forms'. (90) This relationship of dominance and submission was caught in an 'early German women's liberation cartoon [which] depicted a woman scrubbing on her hands and knees while her husband, apparently excited by her pose, approaches from behind her, unzipping his fly'. (91)
Stepping through the servants' entrance, Ehrenreich is shocked by the hierarchy she encounters. As a maid, she finds herself either invisible or being stared at by the female householder residents 'with arms folded', pointing out an 'overlooked stain'. (92) The work is physically demanding, but maids must never sit down, get a glass of water, or go to the toilet. Peculiar humiliations even work as selling points; Merry Maids boast that their contractors clean floors the old-fashioned way--on their hands and knees. (93) Encountering her first shit-stained toilet, Ehrenreich recoils at the 'unwanted intimacy'. (94) She kept two low-paid casual jobs, like 7.8 million other American working poor in 1996, and lived hand-to-mouth in trailer parks. (95)
Welfare to Work programs assume that hard work will enable the poor to move out of poverty and gain self-respect. Yet Ehrenreich found you could work 'harder than you thought possible--and still find yourself sinking into poverty ... The thinking behind welfare reform was that even the humblest jobs are morally uplifting and psychologically buoying. In reality they are likely to be fraught with insult and stress'. (96)
The Import and Export of Motherlove
Nowhere, however, is the process of commercializing relationships more dramatic than the emergence of a brisk international trade in Motherlove. It transforms a mother's capacity for love into a commodity on the open market and part of the new 'free trade' between nations. It is a very unequal affair. The United States' high rates of working motherhood absolutely depend on an immigrant (as well as illegal) underclass.
Hochschild, in a book on globalization, continues her gentle probing of the post-feminist family and contributes a troubling essay. (97) For all the hype about the 'genderquake' that is meant to have changed the world, the data Hochschild so tellingly supplies makes the revolution sound more like a 'classquake'. Globalization has brought about global 'care chains'. As the poor and deprived migrate to richer nations to tend the children of the wealthy, they often must abandon their own. What happens when Motherlove is a commodity, when poor women have nothing to sell but their capacity to give love? Hochschild emphasizes the poignant outcome, not for the women who are globalization's 'winners', but for those who are its losers. The emotional toll on the domestic worker, she suggests, is 'overwhelming'. Mothers from third-world countries who must leave home in order to support it grieve intensely for their own children:
The first two years I felt like I was going crazy ... I was having intense psychological problems. I would catch myself gazing at nothing, thinking about my child. Every moment, every second of the day, I felt like I was thinking about my baby. My youngest ... I left when he was only two months old ... you know whenever I receive a letter from my children, I cannot sleep, I cry. It's good that my job is more demanding at night. (98)
Hochschild, a feminist supporter, describes something she does not want to see: a situation created by globalizing capitalism where there are winners (first-world working mothers) and losers (third-world children and their mothers).
Just as global capitalism creates a Third World supply of nannies it also creates a First World demand ... First World women who hire nannies are themselves caught in a male-career pattern that has proved surprisingly resistant to change ... doing professional work, competing with fellow professionals, getting credit for work, building a reputation, doing it while you are young, hoarding scarce time, and minimising family life by finding someone else to do it. (99)
Children have become 'beloved impediments' to careers and the value of a mother's labour in raising them, which is 'always low relative to the value of other kinds of labour has, under the impact of globalisation, sunk lower still'. (100)
'Thinning Out' the Idea of Care
There is a companionate ideology of childhood in the new capitalism--of the independent, competent and resilient child. (101) Consider, for example, how the phenomenon of what were once called 'latchkey children' is now dubbed 'self-care'. At a loss for a reconstituted 'village' or community of family-friendly workplaces, this is a strategy of 'needs reduction' to resolve the conflict between work and home--valuing self-sufficiency and 'emotional downsizing'. None of this is an inevitable or natural part of working motherhood. Sweden, for example, has instituted the option of a six-hour workday for parents with children under the age of eight.
In contrast, neo-liberal societies offer self-care manuals for children. Books like Teaching Your Child to Be Home Alone and I Can Take Care of Myself show a curious role reversal (102); children are advised to offer care to their exhausted parents by managing and concealing their own need for care. One offers 'The end of the workday can be a difficult time for adults. It is natural for them to sometimes be tired and irritable ... before your parents arrive at the Centre, begin to get ready, and be prepared ... so that pick-up time is easier for everybody'. (103) In another instance, a child is urged not to argue in the morning because it will 'upset your mom or dad for a good portion of the day'. (104) Alongside advice on locking up power tools, poisons and guns, and telling children how to handle the harassment of obscene phone calls, the child is offered a new 'contract' of care.
The child signs a 'self-care agreement' with the beleaguered parent--only, as with the new Australian Work Place Agreements, the power to negotiate rests entirely with the powerful. To keep a child safe in their absence, the parent imposes curfews, confinements and deprivations of previous freedoms, like playing outside in the neighbourhood or having friends over. Sometimes the self-care document is bordered by old-fashioned lace to soften the cold new deal with a 'hint of the personal, the feminine'. (105) In the United States, estimates of children in self-care jumped from 1.6 million in 1976 to 12 million in 1994. (106) More likely to be used by professional parents than those on the minimum wage, the rationale for self-care presented was that it made children more independent and self-sufficient. In actual fact the children were more likely to become involved with drugs and suffer anxiety conditions as adults. (107)
Efficient economies need productive workplaces, which need workers who will prioritize 'being there' at work more than being at home. Unlike Sweden's lengthy paid leave available when caring for a sick child, neo-liberal nations report the 'Demazin Dump syndrome', where children who are sick are dosed up with cough and fever suppressant, and then left at childcare. (108) One Sydney lawyer interviewed for Sixty Minutes candidly admitted: 'I know it's not the right thing to do, but when you've got a meeting with a client at nine o'clock in the morning that you just cannot cancel, I'm sorry that child goes to childcare'. (109)
In The Herald Sun in January 2004, a front-page story called for 'sick rooms' at childcare centres: 'The call comes from researchers who have found working parents struggling to cope when their sick kids are banned from childcare'. The parents felt guilty--not about sick children in childcare, but about not 'being there' at work: 'Even where companies offer carer's leave, many parents feel guilty because of the impact on workmates'. Funnily enough, it was only the childcare workers who articulated the old ideal of 'being there' in saying that sick children prefer and need to be with their parents. (110)
Love in a Cool Climate: the Cultural Logic of New Capitalism
Market relations are presently inscribing their harsh tattoo upon our social and even most intimate relationships. There is a politics of attachment associated with the new capitalism--the push is away from intensity and long-term commitment towards shallower, weaker, more replaceable ties. Intertwined with this is a clearly identifiable hostility to dependency. The new capitalism is profoundly reshaping our tolerance and generosity towards vulnerability. The strong all too often 'take aim against the weak'. As Sennett puts it, 'the acid tone of current discussions of welfare needs, entitlements, and safety nets is pervaded by insinuations of parasitism on one side met by the rage of the humiliated on the other'.
Sennett reminds us of the profound insight from psychiatrist John Bowlby that 'the truly self-reliant person proves to be by no means as independent as cultural stereotypes suppose', for in adult life a healthy self-reliance includes the capacity to depend on others 'when occasion demands and to know on whom it is appropriate to rely'. (111) Across a lifespan of childhood, adulthood, sickness and old age, every person will be dependent and independent, reliant on others and relied upon, vulnerable and strong. Given that, we should give up our false opposition of independence and dependency, and instead talk of human interdependence.
We know from observing how the new gender contract operates in European policy regimes, which allow paid parental leave, sick leave and carer's leave, as well as shorter working hours, that it is possible for mothers' economic independence to work within the ethic of care, and not be lined up against it. In the new capitalism, in contrast, the move is away from those essential reforms. Instead, a harsh new culture of human relations based on an ideology of self-sufficiency, independence and emotional asceticism is downsizing deep human needs. In the United States, eleven years of political struggle managed to achieve a mere three months of unpaid family leave. T. Berry Brazelton, America's bestselling paediatrician, says of a working-class mother who must return to work:
She had to go back to work and knew she had better save all the strength she had for her 'two jobs.' Anyway, she thought of breast-feeding as a bit too intimate. If you are going to leave your baby to go back to work, you can't get too intimate with him. It would lead him to expect more than he would get out of life. (112)
Loyalty, passionate and intense attachments, love at its deepest, make for a certain competitive disadvantage. 'Travelling light', as Bauman puts it, 'is now an asset of power'. (113) Those social conservatives who wish and hope for the cordoning off of 'market forces' from private life are certain to be disappointed. Instead those values, far from being cordoned off, are able to seep into unexpected places, to colonize the private world, to profoundly reshape it. The real unleashing of 'animal spirits' tends much more to the dissolving rather than strengthening of the ties that bind, and to the devaluing of the ethic of care. As Richard Sennett observes, however, 'a regime which provides human beings with no deep reasons to care about one another cannot long preserve its legitimacy'. (114)
(1.) This brutally frank statement about the logic of the new capitalism and transforming parental care into a commodity service is from Dr Michael Krashinski, leading daycare economist at the University of Toronto, available at <www.kidsfirstcanada.org/daycarerecommendations.pdf>. See also G. Cleveland and M. Krashinski, The Benefits and Costs of Good Child Care, 1998, available at <www.childcarecanada.org/pubs/other/benefits/bc.pdf>.
(2.) A. Russell Hochschild, The Commercialisation of Intimate Life: Notes from Home and Work, Berkeley, Los Angeles, University of California Press, 2003, p. 3.
(3.) This article is an edited version of the author's book, A. Manne, Motherhood: How Should We Care for Our Children?, Melbourne, Allen and Unwin, 2005.
(4.) J. Caddo, 'Kids? What Kids?', Good Weekend, 17 August 2002, p. 20.
(5.) R. Sennett, The Corrosion of Character: The Personal Consequences of Work in the New Capitalism, New York, W. W. Norton & Co, 1998, p. 51. See also R. Sennett, Respect: The Formation of Character in an Age of Inequality, London, Allen Lane, 2003.
(6.) Sennett, The Corrosion of Character, p. 51.
(7.) U. Beck, The Brave New World of Work, New York, Polity Press, 2000.
(8.) The term 'hedonistic sensation gatherers' is used in Z. Bauman, 'On The Post-Modern Deployment of Sex', Post-modernity and Its Discontents, Cambridge, Polity Press, 1997, p. 146 and Z. Bauman, Life in Fragments, Cambridge, Polity Press, 1995. Bauman's wide-ranging critiques of the new consumer ethic may be also found in Z. Bauman, Liquid Modernity, Cambridge, Polity Press, 2000, and Z. Bauman, The Individualised Society, Cambridge, Polity Press, 2001.
(9.) Clove Hamilton has other arresting examples of the 'consumer arms race': in barbecues, houses, personal appliances, and even cosmetic surgery. Ever-larger, grander and more complicated models, including The Grand Turbo barbecue, weighing in at $6,990, have replaced the humble 1980s 150-brick barbecue assembled at home. Oakley X Metal XX 'eyewear' (sunglasses) retailed at $570 in 2002. Rental of extra storage space has ballooned, with 1,000 self-storage sites dotted around Australia. See C. Hamilton, Growth Fetish, Crows Nest, Allen & Unwin, 2003, also R. Frank, Luxury Fever: Why Money Fails to Satisfy in an Era of Excess, New York, The Free Press, 1999.
(10.) That said, in November 2000 the National Centre for Economic and Social Modeling showed a forty per cent increase in children raised in 'working poor families' since 1995; 'one in five poor Australians now live in a family where wages and salaries are the main income source', A. Harding and A. Szukalska, 'Financial Disadvantage in Australia 1999: The Unlucky Australians?', The Smith Family and the National Centre for Social and Economic Modelling (NATSEM), University of Canberra, November 2000.
(11.) Both Hamilton and Juliet Schor make this point. See Hamilton, Growth Fetish, and J. Schor, The Overworked American: The Unexpected Decline of Leisure, New York, Basic Books, 1992.
(12.) See P. Krugman, 'French Family Values', New York Times, 29 July 2005.
(13.) Beck is quoting Friedrich Nietzsche. See U. Beck, The Brave New World of Work, p. 61.
(14.) H. Trinca and C. Fox; Better Than Sex: How a Whole Generation Became Hooked on Work, Sydney, Random House, 2004.
(15.) Beck, The Brave New World of Work, pp. 11-13.
(16.) A. Giddens, The Third Way: The Renewal of Social Democracy, Cambridge, Polity Press, 1998, p. 15.
(17.) F. Jameson, 'Postmodernism or the Cultural Logic of Late Capitalism', New Left Review, vol. 146, no. 78, 1984. Jameson calls it 'late capitalism', following the Marxist assumption. I am using Richard Sennett's term 'the new capitalism', see F. Jameson, Postmodernism or the Cultural Logic of Late Capitalism, Duke, Duke University Press, 1997. See also Ritzer's astute discussion of Jameson in relation to his thesis on McDonaldization, G. Ritzer, The McDonaldization of Society, California, Pine Forge Press, 2000, pp. 185-191. Bauman's brilliant point on liberation rhetoric is in Post modernity and Its Discontents, p. 146.
(18.) S. Farganis, The Social Reconstruction of the Feminine Character, Maryland, Rowman and Littlefield, 1996.
(19.) Hochschild, The Commercialisation of Intimate Life, p. 13.
(20.) I. Kristol, The Capitalist Future, Frances Boyer Lecture, Washington, American Enterprise Institute Annual Dinner, publication date 4 December 1991, available at <aei.org/publications/pubID.1674,filter.all/pub_detail.asp>.
(21.) Note, too, that mainstream feminism and neo-liberal nations share a common aim to move to post-maternalist regimes, for example, supporting mothers moving into paid work, funding daycare in preference to mother or familial care, seeing institutional care as 'better than' home care--all aspects of welfare to work programs for poor mothers, with the emphasis on careers for middle-class educated women.
(22.) For example, N. Folbre, The Invisible Heart: Economics And Family Values, New York, The New Press, 2001, and A. Crittenden, The Price of Motherhood: Why the Most Important Job in The World Is Still the Least Valued, New York, Henry Holt and Company, 2001. Folbre and Crittenden offer significant works on the shadow care economy--and how we must rethink our relation to it. Such maternal or social feminists value the opportunities paid work offers women, while not devaluing the ethic of care, nor do they forever consign women and women alone to caring for the 'invisible heart'. They mark a turning point in maternal or social feminism because they attempt to operationalize the insights deriving from difference or cultural feminism which surmount the problematic of sameness, but without leading to an apolitical stance which tacitly accepts the disadvantage flowing from care-giving.
(23.) See, for example, the argument in J. Habermas, The Theory of Communicative Action, 2 Vols, Boston, Beacon Press, 1984, and J. Habermas, The Structural Transformation of the Public Sphere, Cambridge, MIT Press, 1989.
(24.) D. Uren, 'Costello: Get Mums Working', The Australian, 1 April 2005, p. 1.
(25.) Sennett, p. 88.
(26.) J. Stephens, 'Beyond Binaries in Motherhood Research', Family Matters, Spring/Summer 2004/5, pp. 96-101.
(27.) Quoted in Stephens, p. 97.
(28.) The public Motherwars between warring tribes often obscure the shared, core problem of the devaluation of care that confronts mothers in or out of the paid workforce.
(29.) J. Stephens, 'Motherhood and the Market', Arena Magazine, August/September, no. 48, 2000, pp. 35-7.
(30.) B. Probert, 'Gender and Choice: The Structure of Opportunity', in P. James, W. Veit and S. Wright (eds), Work of the Future, Melbourne, Allen and Unwin, 1998, p. 195.
(31.) Probert, p. 195.
(32.) Crittenden, p. 4.
(33.) Heather Joshi, also cited in Benn, p. 61.
(34.) Margaret Thatcher makes this comment in an interview with British celebrity doctor Miriam Stoppard, quoted in M. Benn, Madonna and Child: Towards a New Politics of Motherhood, London, Jonathon Cape, 1998, p. 42.
(35.) Hochschild, The Commercialization of Intimate Life, p. 238.
(36.) J. Kristeva, 'About Chinese Women', 'Women's Time', and 'Sabat Mater', in T. Moi (ed.), The Kristeva Reader, New York, Columbia Press, 1986.
(37.) Schor, p. 44ff.
(38.) S. Gerhardt, Why Love Matters, Hove and New York, Brunner-Routledge, 2004, p. 208.
(39.) See 'Prologue: Down Among the Children' and Chapter 13, 'The McDonaldisation of Childhood' in A. Manne, Motherhood: How Should We Care for Our Children, Sydney, Allen and Unwin, 2005.
(40.) Jules Henry, quoted in V. Polakow Suransky, The Erosion of Childhood, Chicago, University of Chicago Press, 1992, from J. Henry, The Pathway to Madness, New York, Random House, 1971.
(41.) In earlier eras, there was also an application of industrial principles to the home and infant care. Housewifery became 'scientific', with mothers at home called 'domestic engineers' running households on efficient business-like principles. The parenting expert of that era, Truby King, advised young mothers to adopt the now notorious infant feeding schedules that dictated babies be fed at four-hourly intervals, however hungry. An illuminating account of such a modernizing impulse is in K. Reiger, The Disenchantment of the Home: Modernising the Australian Family 1880-1940, Melbourne, Oxford University Press, 1985.
(42.) There is a radical disjuncture between these neo-liberal-inspired parenting practices and infant needs. The Australian Association of Infant Mental Health--psychotherapists and infant specialists reflecting on the infant need for emotional responsiveness--has expressed concern over this expanding practice. See 'Controlled Crying: AAMHI position paper', available at <www.earlychildhoodaustralia.org.au/pdf/papers/april2003_aamia.pdf>.
(43.) E. Tuttle Hansen, Mother without Child: Contemporary Fiction and the Crisis of Motherhood, Berkeley, University of California Press, 1997, p. 21, my emphasis.
(44.) Madelon Sprengnether quoted in Tuttle Hansen, p. 21. See also M. Sprengnether; The Spectral Mother: Freud, Feminism and Psychoanalysis, Cornell University Press, Ithaca, 1990, my emphasis.
(45.) Tuttle Hansen, p. 21, my emphasis.
(46.) Hochschild, The Commercialisation of Intimate Life, p. 21.
(47.) Quoted in C. Hanauer, The Bitch in the House, New York, William Morrow, 2002, pp. 161-2.
(48.) Hanauer, p. 165.
(49.) A. Russell Hochschild, The Time Bind: When Work Becomes Home And Home Becomes Work, New York, Metropolitan Books, 1997.
(50.) Hochschild, The Time Bind, p. 44.
(51.) The 'reversed worlds' of home and work went deeper with some families than with others. People in approximately one-fifth of the company's families 'married' their work, 'investing in [it] the emotional significance once reserved for family'. Less extreme cases, where work was still an 'important theme', were found in over one-half.
(52.) N. Folbre, The Invisible Heart: Economics and Family, New York, The New Press, 2001.
(53.) Stephens, 'Motherhood and the Market', pp. 35-7.
(54.) Hochschild, The Time Bind, p. 198.
(55.) R. Drago and Y. Tseng, 'Family Structure: Usual and Preferred Work Hours and Egalitarianism', March 2003. Paper delivered at the Household Income and Labour Dynamics in Australia conference, 10 March 2003, at Melbourne University's Institute of Applied Economic and Social Research.
(56.) See Hochschild, The Time Bind, especially Chapter 4.
(57.) Hochschild, The Time Bind, p. 50.
(58.) Hochschild, The Time Bind, p. 212.
(59.) Hochschild, The Time Bind, see between pp. 224-5; the ad. appears on the second page of illustrations.
(60.) J. Buxton, Ending the Mother War, London, Pan Books, 1999, p. 88; a critique of Gershuny can be found on pp. 87-8.
(61.) On Tina Brown, see Buxton, p. 96. See also A. Pearson, I Don't Know How She Does It!, London, Chatto and Windus, 2002.
(62.) 'There is so much silence about this', says journalist Yvonne Roberts in Buxton, p. 95.
(63.) Kroc, quoted in Ritzer, p. 42.
(64.) S. Kitzinger, The Complete Book of Pregnancy and Childbirth, New York, 1989.
(65.) C. Nader, 'Women Warned on Birth Choices', The Age, 21 November 2005. Caesareans followed by natural labour for subsequent births carry 'greater risk of uterine rupture, hysterectomy, haemorrhaging and infection ... The rate of caesareans has doubled in the past 20 years. Provisional Victorian Government data indicates that 30 per cent of all births were caesareans last year, compared with 15 per cent in 1985. About half of all caesareans last year were elective'.
(66.) S. Loane, Who Cares: Guilt, Hope and The Childcare Debate, Melbourne, Mandarin Books, 1997, p. 220.
(67.) Loane, p. 33.
(68.) Loane, p. 33.
(69.) Quoted in D. Bagnall, 'Unwilling Childcare Conspirators', The Bulletin, 16 April 1996, p. 18.
(70.) Loane, p. 34.
(71.) The Taylorization of the family could also be described as McDonaldization, see Ritzer, pp. 185-90, where he links effects of McDonaldization on emotion to Fredric Jameson's analysis of the 'waning of affect'.
(72.) Loane, p. 34.
(74.) Gazis, quoted in Bagnall, p. 18, my emphasis.
(75.) Gazis, quoted in Bagnall, p. 18.
(76.) Loane, p. 42.
(77.) Benn, p. 65.
(78.) Quoted in Loane, p. 41.
(79.) Taryan, quoted in Bagnall, pp. 32-3.
(80.) Bagnall, pp. 32-3.
(81.) S. Orbach and L. Eichenbaum, What Do Women Want?, London, Harper Collins, pp. 56-7.
(82.) See U. Beck, Risk Society: Towards a New Modernity, London, Sage, 1998. See his illuminating discussion of this conundrum, pp. 109-15 ff.
(83.) Hochschild, The Time Bind, p. 232.
(84.) Hochschild, The Time Bind, p. 232.
(85.) C. Flanagan, 'How Serfdom Saved the Women's Movement', The Atlantic Monthly, February, 2004. Also see 'Am I Exploiting My Nanny?', exchanges between Flanagan, Sara Mosle and Barbara Ehrenreich on Slate at <slate.msn.com/id/2095545/entry/2095648/>.
(86.) Quoted in Flanagan, 'How Serfdom Saved the Women's Movement'.
(88.) B. Ehrenreich, Nickel and Dimed: On (Not) Getting By in America, New York, Metropolitan Books, 2001. See also her essay, B. Ehrenreich, 'Maid to Order: Housecleaning Services', Harper's Magazine, April 2000.
(89.) B. Ehrenreich, 'Maid To Order', April 2000, available at <www.findarticles.com/p.articles/mi_m1111/is1799_300/ai_61291582>.
(90.) Ehrenreich, 'Maid to Order'.
(91.) Ehrenreich, 'Maid to Order'.
(92.) Ehrenreich, 'Maid to Order'.
(93.) Ehrenreich, 'Maid to Order', p. 83.
(94.) Ehrenreich, Nickel and Dimed, p. 92.
(95.) Ehrenreich, Nickel and Dimed.
(96.) Ehrenreich, Nickel and Dimed, p. 220.
(97.) A. Hochschild, 'Global Care Chains and Emotional Surplus Value', in W. Hutton and A. Giddens (eds), On the Edge: Living with Global Capitalism, Jonathon Cape, 2000, p. 130 ff.
(98.) Hochschild, 'Global Care Chains', p. 138.
(99.) Hochschild, 'Global Care Chains', p. 140.
(100.) Hochschild, 'Global Care Chains', p. 143.
(101.) I annotate this trend in relation to the daycare literature in Motherhood: How Should We Care for Our Children?
(102.) E. Grollmann and G. Sweder, Teaching Your Child to be Home Alone, New York, Macmillan, 1989. See Hochschild's discussion on emotional asceticism in relation to children in The Time Bind, pp. 221-9.
(103.) Hochschild, The Time Bind, pp. 14, 225, my emphasis.
(104.) Quoted in Hochschild, The Time Bind, 1997, pp. 225-6.
(105.) Hochschild, The Time Bind, p. 227.
(106.) Hochschild, The Time Bind, p. 224.
(107.) See the discussion of self-care in Hochschild, The Time Bind, pp. 221-9.
(108.) Penelope Leach also reports the 'Demazin Dump' in Britain. Leach is quoted on the phenomenon from the ABC's Life Matters interview, in Loane, pp. 84-5. For a broad cultural critique of the treatment of children in our society see P. Leach, Children First: What Our Society Must Do--and Is Not Doing--for Our Children Today, London, Michael Joseph, 1994.
(109.) Quoted in Loane, p. 84.
(110.) The Herald Sun, 2004, p. 1.
(111.) For a discussion of dependency and Bowlby, see Sennett, The Corrosion of Character, p. 140.
(112.) T. B. Brazelton , Working and Caring, Massachusetts, Addison-Wesley, 1985, p. 98.
(113.) Bauman, Liquid Modernity, p. 124. At the World Economic Forum at Davos, Sennett was fascinated by Bill Gates, who 'seems free of the obsession to hold onto things. His products are furious in coming forth and as rapid in disappearing, whereas Rockefeller wanted to own oil rigs, buildings, machinery, or railroads for the long term'. Bauman, in Liquid Modernity, also finds Gates arresting: '[Gates] was cautious not to develop attachments (and particularly a sentimental attachment) or lasting commitment to anything, including his own creations ... [T]he rails kept being dismantled as soon as the engine moved a few yards further, the footprints blown away, things were dumped as quickly as they were put together--and forgotten soon after'.
(114.) Sennett, The Corrosion of Character, p. 142.
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