In this sociological study of "lesbigay" domestic partnership, Christopher Carrington explores the expanded views of family that inform the lives of the 50 established Bay Area couples included in his study. Drawing from in-depth interviews, as well as weeklong field observations of eight households, he develops arguments on housework, caregiving, division of labor, "kinship work" on outside friendships and biolegal families, and the tricky concepts of fairness and egalitarianism within partnerships. Although far from a random sample of American gay men and lesbians, his subjects range widely in age, ethnicity, class background, and income level, although only five households with children were included. Couples were interviewed separately, revealing amusing disparities in their accounts of domestic life. The jargon and sociological hairsplitting make for some unintentional humor, as in the chapter on "feeding work" (known to the rest of us as shopping and cooking): "Planning meals, learning about foodstuffs and techniques, considering the preferences and emotions of significant others, and overseeing nutritional strategies frame the essential yet invisible precursor work to the actual daily process of preparing a meal." Let's eat! Not the perkiest book on gay and lesbian life, No Place Like Home nevertheless covers unfamiliar territory with intelligence and insight. --Regina Marler
From Library Journal
Carefully separating stereotype from reality, Carrington (sociology, San Franciso State Univ.) investigates family in the gay and lesbian community. Relying upon interviews and observation, the author analyzes the lives and routines of 52 diverse lesbian, gay, and bisexual couples in the Bay area. Carrington explores several areas: "feeding work," the business of planning and executing meals; housework; "kin work," the creation and preservation of family connections; "consumption work," purchasing goods and services for the family; and the division of labor between partners. Beware: no domestic stone is left unturned. After five chapters of exacting detail about the domestic lives of these families, Carrington closes the work with a discussion of the raging same-sex marriage debate and posits an enlightened solution to this dilemma. This work adds much to the growing body of literature on domestic work and gender. Recommended for gender, gay and lesbian, and family social science collections.
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-Kimberly L. Clarke, Univ. of Minnesota Lib., Twin Cities
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