Date of Award
Master of Arts (MA)
This feminist and geographic study is an exploratory qualitative analysis of the lived experiences of female home-based workers as they are confronted with the challenge of collapsing home and work lives and spaces. In this thesis a focus on the everyday lives of women homeworkers reveals complex experiences of the transformation of space and place through homework. In-depth interviews with 20 women homeworkers, doing white-collar work, in Hamilton and surrounding regions were used in this study to investigate the experiences of this group of waged workers. This study challenges the neglect of the homework issue in the geographic literature to date and demonstrates the need for ongoing interdisciplinary research on this issue.
In examining the experiences of women homeworkers this study looks at various Issues. These are: women's satisfaction/dissatisfaction with homework, reasons for doing home-based work, social and spatial isolation, the devaluation homeworkers face, the gendered division of labour, the construction of a work space, the integration of women's roles, the meaning of the home for homeworkers, representations of homework as a child care strategy, or as a means of providing homeworkers with flexibility in combining home and work roles, or providing personal autonomy, and social and economic vulnerability in doing homework. In understanding these issues and the diverse and complex ways women experience homework this study has four main objectives. One, to investigate some of the social processes/forces shaping those experiences in a specific time and place, in order to build on and contribute to the work in feminist geography on the general socialist feminist and geographic theory of women and work. In doing so, this study focuses on both gender relations of power within the household (or family) and society at large as socially constructed relations of dominance and inequality between the sexes, and class relations as those relations which give rise to a set of positions within the class structure. Two, to explore the experiences of homeworkers by providing a better understanding of the reality of home-based work and the lives of women doing such work. This is done by: one, accounting for the differences between homeworkers and how: this can affect their experience; and two, listening to the voices of female homeworkers who are sharing their homework experience. Three, to construct this research as part of the aim for social change in making this group of workers more visible within society, this study aims to assess homework and the degree to which it is a progressive or regressive strategy for women to undertake. Lastly, to incorporate geographical aspects to the study of homework, by illustrating the importance of space and place in understanding the transformation of the home space.
Zanon, Janice, "Transformation of Space and Place Through Homework: The Experiences of Female Home-Based Workers" (1997). Open Access Dissertations and Theses. Paper 6675.
McMaster University Library