Course Catalog

01:988:414 Care Work

Course Description

Nursing and teaching – two women-dominated professions – lie at the heart of the “care economy.” Involving work that requires intensive physical labor, person-to-person communication, and spatial proximity, the intimate nature of care work resists mechanization. In contrast to the production of commodities, the highly personalized labor of care is driven by human need rather than profit maximization. This course provides an overview of distinctive gendered professions whose object of labor is the human subject. In nursing and teaching, skill entails the effective exercise of professional judgement. Focused on the cultivation and preservation of human capacities, this professional labor resists routinization and automation. In addition to examining the distinctive nature of these caring professions, the course explores recent efforts to heighten the profit-making potential of the care economy, and it considers the long-term implications of efforts to deskill and outsource care work.

Course Objectives

1) Introduce basic concepts and themes fundamental to the care economy;

2) Introduce methodological frameworks and approaches to critiquing current and past social and economic policies;

3) Promote critical thinking and your understanding of the definition of work and its position in social, economic, and political conflicts;

4) Elucidate the role of gender, race, ethnicity, and class in occupations;

5) Develop analytical, writing, and presentation skills.