A social transformation of profound proportions has been unfolding over the second half of the twentieth century as women have turned from household work to wages as the key source of their livelihood. This timely study, a broad comparative analysis of African American women’s and white women’s changing relationships to home and work over the past forty years, at last provides a wide-ranging overview of how this shift is influencing the shape of families and the American economy. Susan Thistle brings together diverse issues and statistics—the plight of single mothers; the time crunch faced by many parents; the problem of housework; patterns of work, employment and marriage; and much more—in a rich and engaging analysis that draws from history, economics, political science, sociology, government documents, and census data to put gender at the center of the social and economic changes of the past decades. With its broad historical and theoretical sweep, clear charts and tables, and accessible writing, From Marriage to the Market will be an essential resource for understanding the tumultuous changes currently transforming American society.
List of Figures
List of Tables
1. A World Turned Inside Out
2. Support for Women’s Domestic Economy in the
Nineteenth and Early Twentieth Centuries
3. The Breakdown of Women’s Domestic Economy after World War II
4. Economic Difficulties and a Contradictory Alliance
5. The Formation of a Female Underclass
6. The “New Economy” and the Transformation of Women’s Work
7. How and Why Mothers Have Been Shortchanged
8. New Possibilities and Old Inequalities
Susan Thistle is Associate Chair and Faculty in the Department of Sociology and Faculty Associate at the Institute for Policy Research at Northwestern University.
"This is a provocative and fresh synthesis of the history of white and black women's work at home and in the market, as well as a history of the family over the last century. It represents a staggering volume of scholarship."—Paula England, author of Comparable Worth: Theories and Evidence
"From Marriage to Market shows how our world has been turned inside out and what we must do to get it right again. Thistle argues that in the collision between families and the market, care giving has been the victim. Refusing to anoint the 1950's as the golden era of shared prosperity to which we should all strive to return, this book shows us a way forward."—Heidi Hartmann, Institute for Women's Policy Research
"From Marriage to Market offers groundbreaking thought on the 20th century collapse of women's domestic economy. Thistle shows the utter failure of social policy to tackle this transformation, which produced new forms of race and class inequities among women. This book makes a powerful claim for all women's rightful share of the prosperity their domestic and waged labor helped to create. This is a stunning contribution to the movement to recognize the value of women's work."—Dorothy Roberts, author of Killing the Black Body: Race, Reproduction, and The Meaning of Liberty