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Unit information: Care, Labour and Gender in 2015/16

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Unit name Care, Labour and Gender
Unit code SPAIM0010
Credit points 20
Level of study M/7
Teaching block(s) Teaching Block 2 (weeks 13 - 24)
Unit director Dr. Yamashita
Open unit status Not open




School/department School of Sociology, Politics and International Studies
Faculty Faculty of Social Sciences and Law


The aim of this unit is to examine the inter-relationships between care, labour and gender, which form the foundation of socio-economic structure of societies. It will discuss how care can be considered as work, just as much as wage labour, but which exists both in the public and private spheres, and as paid and unpaid work. This unit also looks at how care work can be and is actually organized in different societies (particularly in Western Europe and East Asia), and how the organization of care influences the formation of the state, market, family and civil society. Womens dominant and universal roles in providing care are another question to be explored. This unit concludes with indentifying both strengths and weaknesses of state interventions (i.e. social policies) on care and how these vary among nations.

Intended learning outcomes

On successful completion of the unit students will be able to

  • understand the interdisciplinary approach to this subject;
  • develop a critical understanding of concepts of care, labour and gender;
  • explore the significance of care in the analysis of gender relations and welfare states; and
  • apply the concepts used in this unit to analyse different cases in comparative perspective

Teaching details

1 hour lecture combined with 1 hour seminar. Key concepts and discussion on the weeks main topics will be introduced in each lecture. The following seminars, which include students presentations on the relevant topics, will provide students opportunities to develop and address their own argument and further develop independent critical understanding of the concepts of care, gender and labour.

Assessment Details

Formative assessment: Each student will need to give one10 minute presentation that critically discusses an article /a book chapter listed for the weeks theme by the unit director. Formative assessment will thus allow development of critical understanding in relation to the key concepts covered on the unit as a unit outcome (see C7) with feedback from the unit director as an aid to student development.

Summative assessment (100%): Students will be required to write a 3,500-4,000 word essay on a choice of titles provided by the tutor. The titles set by the tutor will be specifically designed to assess the broad concerns of the unit identified in the learning outcomes (listed at C7): understanding of different approaches to this subject; critical understanding of key concepts; gender and welfare states; and application of key concepts/approaches to comparative cases.

Reading and References

  • Butler, Judith (1990) Gender Trouble: Feminism and the Subversion of Identity. London: Routledge
  • Daly, Mary (ed.) (2001), Care Work: The Quest for Security, Geneva: International Labour Office.
  • Gilligan, Carol. (1982) In a Different Voice, Cambridge: Harvard University Press.
  • Glendinning, Caroline and Kemp, Peter (eds.) (2006), Cash and Care: Policy challenges in the welfare state, Bristol: The Policy Press.
  • Sainsbury, Dianne (1996) Gender, Equality and Welfare States, Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.
  • Ungerson, Claire (1986) Policy is Personal: Sex Gender and Informal Care, London: Tavistock Publications.