Friday, April 29, 2011

Lasch - The Sexual Division of Labor, the Decline of Civic Culture, and the Rise of the Suburbs

Lasch, Christopher. “The sexual division of labor, the decline of civic culture, and the rise of the suburbs.” From Lasch, Christopher, and Elisabeth Lasch-Quinn. Women and the Common Life: Love, Marriage, and Feminism. New York: W. W. Norton & Co, 1997

Suburbanization has changed the division of household labor from a barter system based on obligation among trusted friends and family to a private burden that is either managed at the expense of a career or, more likely, arranged for with an impersonal payment. Lasch suggests reading Feminine Mystique alongside Paul Goodman's 1960 Growing Up Absurd, as both seem to deal with two sides of the same suburban dissatisfaction.

Orsi's Madonna of 115th Street tells the story of what life was like in a dense, close-knit urban environment. Jackson's Crabgrass Frontier explains how that urban environment shifted to the suburbs. Lasch builds on Feminine Mystique to explain what society lost in that transformation.

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