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Constructing lesbigay families: The social organization of domestic labor(s) in lesbian and gay families

Christopher Michael Carrington, University of Massachusetts Amherst


This dissertation investigates the organization and division of domestic labor(s) among and within lesbian and gay families. The research focuses upon the character and extent of feeding work, house work, kin work and consumption work within fifty-two lesbian and gay families (twenty-six male, twenty-six female). The study illuminates the influence of social class, occupation, gender, ethnicity/race and other factors upon the extent and character of housework. I limited participation to relationships of at least two years duration, in order to assess more established patterns. Methodologically, the study consists of in-depth interviews with 105 respondents and field observation of housework and other domestic practices in eight of the fifty-two families. To gather field data, I lived in residence with each of the eight families for one week each. In addition to addressing the distinctions that exist in patterns of domestic labor among lesbigay families, the research examines the place of such labor in the creation and maintenance of lesbigay family life, suggesting the centrality of domestic labor to the social production of family. I conclude with a discussion of the differentiated ability of lesbigay families to invest time and resources in domestic labor, and argue that affluent lesbigay families achieve a stronger sense of themselves as family because of their capacity to invest time, money, and energy into domesticity, in constrast to their less affluent peers.

Subject Area

Families & family life|Personal relationships|Sociology|Womens studies|Sociology

Recommended Citation

Carrington, Christopher Michael, "Constructing lesbigay families: The social organization of domestic labor(s) in lesbian and gay families" (1998). Doctoral Dissertations Available from Proquest. AAI9823724.