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House, Wife, Woman, and Time

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Housework and scholarly work have many aspects in common, however strong the differences may be. They are usually performed in an enclosed, more or less private space, and they share problems in their temporal structuring. One difficulty for the temporality is its oscillation between autonomy and heteronomy, another problem is fragmentation, and the near impossibility of scheduling the internal processes of the work. What are the consequences if we look at the scholar as houseworker? Like the housewife the scholar has to face doubts about the productivity of his/her work, and questions about how he/she is actually spending her time. This means a feminization of scholarly work from which criticism of the traditional attitudes towards this type of work can be developed. Instead of believing that a well written article or a book is a piece of work with a status of its own in the world we can take into consideration that it might just as well not last longer than the neatly made bed. Ideas, after all, are volatile and in constant movement, and therefore in a permanent contradiction to the organisation of the academy – like housework and reproductive work are at odds with temporal economy.

Affiliations: 1: Institut fuer Medienforschung, Hochschule für Bildende Kuenste, Johannes Selenka-Platz 1, D-38118 Braunschweig, Germany;, Email:


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