Children’s Contribution to Household Labour in Three Sociocultural Contexts A Southern Indian Village, a Norwegian Town and a Canadian City RINA COHEN ¤ ABSTRACT Using cross-cultural data, this paper explores the extent and nature of children’s participation in household labour in three social settings: a Southern-Indian shing village, a Norwegian town and a Canadian large urban centre. It examines the gender division of domestic labour among children and compares children’s contributions to that of adults. Children’s household production was always a structural necessity for the maintenance of rural households. However, in the past three decades, as households in urban-industrialsocieties are restructuring,children’s participation became indispensable. Introduction Most of the recent research on the division of domestic labour in families re- volves around gender issues and is based on the assumption that women and men are the sole collaborators (Ferree 1990; Gill 1998; Kluwer 1998; Gupta 1999; Reily and Kiger 1999). Few studies look at children’s participation in household labour. With few exceptions, such as Gill (1999), these studies tend to conceptualize chil- dren’s contribution as an essential component for their development, stressing the socialization value of housework. They focus on the importance of performing household chores in developing
International Journal of Comparative Sociology (in 2002 continued as Comparative Sociology) – Brill
Published: Jan 1, 2001
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