Amazed at the stubborn nature of the sexual division of labour in modern society, five Norwegian researchers set out to explore the sources of this pervasive resistance to change. Moving from the neutral concepts of work and money, the lofty notions of love and family and the triviality of domestic organization, social science is made to yield some surprising insights into hidden, secret and perhaps even sacred structures of everyday life. A provocative claim in these pages is that the practical arrangement in the family is informed by the erotic properties of work and semi-religious notions of poverty and dirt - and is sustained by both sexes. This anthology reveals some perplexing aspects of contemporary self-understanding and rediscovers sexual meaning as a pillar of modern culture. The book is an invitation to reconsider the conditions for gender equality and to explore further the cultural tangle behind this persistent tolerance for injustice within European thinking.
’…this volume represents a fascinating series of insights and provocative reflections on social institutions and issues that might have seemed familiar and well-explored. In this, the authors succeed admirably in one of the central aims of a social science imagination: that of reminding the reader of the strangeness and complexity of much of our most intimate everyday life.’ David H.J. Morgan, Department of Sociology, University of Manchester, UK
Contents: Introduction; The semantics of love; Shelter from the storm; Money, gifts and gender; Family theory reconsidered; The fearful empty space.