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The “Housewife” and Housework in the Indian Urban Middle Classes

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Chapter Summary

A particularly important question is which of the various jobs that tend to be lumped together under the term "housework" is decisively important to the housewife, or in other words, what exactly is the part of housework that "defines one as a housewife?". If one look at it in this sense, then the following issues arise. The first point is the externalization of housework. The second point is the existence or otherwise of a public system for activities related to reproduction. The third aspect is the existence of immediate family members, relatives, and a neighborhood network. This chapter attempts to consider the above points using the example of housewives and housework in contemporary urban middle-class India. It focuses particularly on the division and "ranking" of different tasks in housework, and looks at the roles and division of labor between the "housewife", "family members", and "domestic servants" based on this ranking.

Keywords: housewife; housework; India; urban middle-class



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