Saturday, January 3, 2009

Blast from the college past

I was going through my books today, putting a few dozen up for sale as a part of my divestment plans, and as I flipped though an old textbook, "Classes, Power and Conflict," I found some old homework that made me laugh. It's all handwritten on ruled notebook paper (God, I feel old), but rather than scanning it in, since it's not readable in these margins, I'll reproduce it minus the scratch-outs below.

Megan Carpentier

1) What explanations are there for division of labor between the sexes?

Universalists: when one sex must perform tasks, it follows that the other is forbidden to do so -- enforces reciprocal dependence and assures heterosexual marriage: woman are exchanged between families which is a mechanism supporting interdependency, and, since women are being exchanged and men are exchanging, women benefit less from the created social bonds which leads to a hierarchy that is universal in all societies.

Feminist Revisionist: or it is just "separate but equal," and it is the bias of the observers that says that it is male-supremacist and it stresses the importance of what women accomplish.

Variationist: isolate the variables which coincide with the greater or lesser autonomy of women: contribution of women (and their control over such contribution) to subsistence, organization of tribal vs. state societies, requirements of the mode of production, wealth and private property, the boundaries of public and private spheres.

[side notes: devalued labor -- skilled were just generic, not monopolized, or very skilled; men are in the public sphere and women at home (private); no access to money made women dependent; guilds monopolize price, skill]

sexual stratification occures with social stratification which is dependent on and fosters an increase in social surplus, and women lose status when they lose control over subsistence through a change in production and a devaluation of their labor, works becomes private and family centered, division of labor becomes hierarchical, and men assert power over other men by using the nuclear family above the kin group. control over women is maintained in the family by men and sustained by social institutions

2) Why is the relationship between power in the market and power in the family reciprocal?

When men have the power in the family, they control the labor of women and children.

Men enforced job segregation in the labor market and worked to strengthen domestic division of labor and the women's subordinate position in the family which reinforced their position in the labor market. Huband has more upward mobility and higher wages. (Ideology of patriarchy used)

3) If capitalism requires individuals to compete freely in the market why are women as a group disadvantaged in this market?

- We don't have perfect capitalism.
- Patriarchy existed beforehand
- No organization of women (into unions).
- Capitalism too advantage of the patriarchal system (came on top of it)

Can you believe I got an A- in this class? Holy hell, no wonder my professors always used to tell me to proofread shit before I turned it in. Notably, this was all written before I started drinking. Obviously, drinking makes me more coherent and less ideological.

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