2011

Incontro Romano - 2011 - "House to Home"

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Visit the official Incontro Romano website: http://www.incontroromano.it/

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All materials on this page are taken from 




Doing Our Home Work 
Doing Our Home Work: Toward an Ecological and Interdisciplinary Approach to the Study of the Work of the Home Ann F. Brodeur*  
This essay is about the work done in the home: all of those tasks, big and small, that go into creating a thriving home environment. “Housework” or “work of the home,” in this respect, is not limited to cooking and cleaning, but also extends to caregiving in the home.



Doing Our Home Work: Toward an Ecological and Interdisciplinary Approach to
the Study of the Work of the Home
Ann F. Brodeur*

I. Introduction

This essay is about the work done in the home: all of those tasks, big and small, that go into creating a thriving home environment. “Housework” or “work of the home,” in this respect, is not limited to cooking and cleaning, but also extends to caregiving in the home.1 In an age in which it is not uncommon for many middle-class households to hire housecleaners, nannies, gardeners and dog walkers, it may seem quaint or passé to point out the need for more study on the work of the home. However, social scientists, medical professionals, educators, and policymakers generally point to a strong
relationship between the quality of the home environment and the wellbeing and development of individuals in the home.2 Thus, whether performed by a family member or a paid professional, these tasks are essential to the establishment and maintenance of a home environment that can allow for fullest development of the individuals living in it.

The study of housework (broadly defined) and its relationship to healthy home
environments and the overall health and development of household members (and by 
extension, the community at large) is not without its challenges. These are by no means 
simple relationships to define and analyze. Even the definition of what constitutes 
housework shifts across time and discipline, making synthetic meta-analysis difficult.3  
This is, in part, due to the highly specialized state of social science research in this area. 
Current social science research on the work of the home is fractured along lines of 
academic discipline, and, as a result, can tend toward conclusions that are incomplete and 
risks a certain reductionism. This is not entirely unexpected nor unjustified, since each 
discipline seeks to understand a particular subject using a distinct set of methods, 
theoretical frameworks, and lines of inquiry.4 Moreover, each discipline frames an issue 
in very particular ways. This offers researchers the opportunity to build deeper knowledge and gain more penetrating insight into specific aspects of housework. Yet, it is precisely because of our modern tendency to delimit knowledge by discipline that our
understanding of a given subject is sometimes two-dimensional.

The following survey of current social science research on the work of the home 
reveals a great deal of complexity. Taken as a whole, it can be seen from the research that 
the work of the home is critical service upon which the health and development of that 
ecological microsystem called the family or household depends. Furthermore, an interdisciplinary 
approach to the work of the home is needed in order to offer researchers a fuller, more 
complete understanding of its nature and effects. Because housework bears on the
development of the individuals living in the home, its study has clear implications for 
social policy. The broader the understanding of the nature and socio-economic 
implications of the work of the home, the more well-rounded and successful the resulting 
policy recommendations may be.

FOR DETAILS, DOWNLOAD & READ THE .PDF FILE ABOVE.

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On Jan. 17, 2011, I gave a Talk at Punlaan School (Manila) to deliver the ideas above.  We clearly defined: (1) Elegance, (2) Work of the Home, (3) Interdisciplinary, (4) Ecological approach, (5) Work-Life Balance, (6) Social Policy, (7) the works of Gary Becker.


We used a "Live Matching Type game" as methodology for transmitting the terminologies above.  The following were some of the suggested Project or Research topic presentations for Incontro Romano:

  • "The Family that dines together stays together: A descriptive survey of Filipino families' dining habits"
  • "Qualities of and Techniques for the Filipino 'Baon' "
  • "An initial survey of Filipino mothers' and fathers' dedication of time and energy to the care of children"

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Topic Leads for Incontro Romano:




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Aliza Racelis,
Nov 27, 2010, 8:16 PM
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