Circles of Care

Work and Identity in Women's Lives

Edited by Emily K. Abel & Margaret K. Nelson

Subjects: Women's Studies
Series: SUNY series on Women and Work
Paperback : 9780791402641, 326 pages, July 1990
Hardcover : 9780791402634, 326 pages, July 1990

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Table of contents


Part I: Theoretical Issues



1: Circles of Care: An Introductory Essay
Emily K. Abel and Margaret K. Nelson

2: Toward a Feminist Theory of Caring
Berenice Fisher and Joan Tronto


Part II: The Domestic Domain



3: Family Care of the Frail Elderly
Emily K. Abel

4: Gender Differences in Spouse Management of the Caregiver Role
Baila Miller


Part III: Formal Organizations



5: Alice in the Human Services: A Feminist Analysis of Women in the Caring Professions
Berenice Fisher

6: The Duty or Right to Care? Nursing and Womanhood in Historical Perspective
Susan M. Reverby

7: Caring for the Institutionalized Mentally Retarded: Work Culture and Work-Based Social Support
Rebecka Inga Lundgren and Carole H. Browner

8: Nursing Homes As Trouble
Timothy Diamond

9: Does It Pay to Care?
Karen Brodkin Sacks


Part IV: Unaffiliated Providers



10: Mothering Others' Children: The Experiences of Family Day Care Providers
Margaret K. Nelson

11: Experts and Caregivers: Perspectives on Underground Day Care
Elaine Enarson

12: Licensed Lay Midwifery and Medical Models of Childbirth
Rose Weitz and Deborah A. Sullivan


Part V: Overlapping Responsibilities



13: Double Jeopardy: The Costs of Caring at Work and at Home
Nancy L. Marshall, Rosalind C. Barnett, Grace K. Baruch, and Joseph H. Pleck

14: Family Perceptions of Care in a Nursing Home
Barbara Bowers

15: Children's Caregivers and Ideologies of Parental Inadequacy
Julia Wrigley




Explores the experience of women providing care to children, disabled persons, the chronically ill, and the frail elderly.


This work examines the experience of women providing care to children, disabled persons, the chronically ill, and the frail elderly. It differs from most writing about caregiving because it focuses on the providers rather than the care recipients. It looks at the experience of women caregivers in specific settings, exploring what caregiving actually entails and what it means in their lives

Emily K. Abel is Acting Associate Professor at the School of Public Health at the University of California, Los Angeles. Margaret K. Nelson is in the Department of Sociology at Middlebury College.


"What impresses me the most is the careful and nuanced understanding of caring — the valuing of women's traditional work of nurturing, along with an acute awareness of how this can be exploited and over-emphasized. I like the combination of close focus that the many interview studies provide with a more global perspective about institutional constraints and resources that influence caring. " — Barbara Melosh.

"The combination of feminist analysis with focus on both intimate and professional caregivers makes this an extremely important contribution to the literature. " — Barbara Hillyer