Magazine articles, talk shows, and commercials advise us that our happiness and well-being rest on striking a balance between work and family. It goes unsaid, however, that the advice is based on an outmoded and unrealistic ideal. This provocative volume challenges the notion – often offered in support of neo-liberal agendas – that paid work (employment) and unpaid work (caregiving and housework) are separate and competing spheres, rather than overlapping aspects of a single existence. Alternative approaches to integrating work and family must be taken into account if we hope to build truly equitable family and childcare policies.
Despite a large body of scholarship on work-family relationships, none accomplishes what this volume does. It disrupts the work-family binary, demonstrating how this divide contributes to neo-liberal agendas. The chapters consist of fine-grained and nuanced empirical studies as well as broader think pieces that offer alternative conceptions for scholarship and for policy. - Belinda Leach, co-author of Contingent Work, Disrupted Lives: Labour and Community in the New Rural Economy
A Life in Balance? challenges the idea that work and family are separate and competing spheres rather than aspects of a single existence.