Meaning and structure in the work and family interface

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    7 Citations (Scopus)


    This article explores the work and family life of dual-earner parents, how they manage these commitments and how they respond to competing demands on their daily life. The analysis of qualitative data suggests that parents manage the work-family boundaries according to the specific meaning that they attach to these spheres of daily life, but it also points out at employment structures, which inform parents' 'focus' on work and family and equally shape these boundaries. Hence, this article assesses the relevance of these boundaries and how families mediate work and home. This mediating position is analysed through an approach whereby social and economic constraints become parameters informing parents' sense of self and the meanings used in the work and home articulation. Then, the symbolic side of the work-family interface becomes crucial to understand issues concerning the meaningful order of daily life and the emotional attachments of families to these domains. On this point, I argue that mechanistic approaches to the work-family articulation that take in consideration solely chronometric parameters cannot explore these issues as deeply. This article then advocates a qualitative approach to the work-family interface in order to understand better its cultural co-ordinates and contexts.
    Original languageEnglish
    JournalSociological Research Online
    Issue number3
    Publication statusPublished - 2010


    • Work-family interface
    • Dual-earner parents
    • Symbolic meaning
    • Work constraints and resources


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