The eight essays in this volume explore the public, or extra-domestic, lives of women, examining the connections between their activities in the public and private domains. The purpose underlying this theme is twofold: first, to counteract the common tendency to ignore the influence of women outside of the home, and second, to test some generalizations about women's status and social roles which have developed from feminist scholarship. Taking as a starting point the model of cultural anthropologist Michelle Z. Rosaldo, which suggests that asymmetry between the roles of men and women stems not from biology but from social custom, the contributors go on to discuss and question various aspects of this theory.
Introduction: Women's Lives in the Domestic and Public Spheres by Janet Sharistanian Women, Organizations and Power by Carlton Cann Early Employment Patterns of Chicago Area Women: Initial Patterns of Labor Force Entry and Exit by Cheryl Allyn Miller Adaptive Strategies of Recent Korean Immigrant Women in Hawaii by Alice Yun Chai Understanding Re-entry Women: A Developmental Approach by Eileen Brennan The Re-entry Graduate Woman: Interactive Perspectives on Her Transistion Into Public Life by Nancy Bramley Hiebert Women's Social and Sexual Devaluation of Women by Jeanne F. Neath Conclusion: The Public/Domestic Model and the Study of Contemporary Women's Lives by Janet Sharistanian Bibliographical Essay by Janet Sharistanian Index Contributors
Reviews A companion piece to Gender, Ideology, and Action: Perspectives on Women's Public Lives ed. by Sharistanian. Both volumes result from the work of scholars at the University of Kansas Research Institute on Women's Public Lives. Participants were drawn from a wide variety of disciplines. Their task was to investigate the usefulness of the concepts of public and private domains in the analysis of women's lives. It continues a debate begun by Michelle Z. Rosaldo in her overview to Women, Culture, and Society, ed. by Rosaldo and Louise Lamphere (1974). Six essays form the core of the book. These include a study of the social and sexual devaluation of women by women, a theoretical discussion of power within organizational structures, and two essays on `re-entry' women returning to education institutions. A study of Korean immigrant women and their adaptive strategies is reported. Using data from the study reported in Helena Lopata's City Women patterns of women's labor force entry and exit are examined. Sharistanian's introduction and conclusion are interesting and useful, but perhaps the most valuable part of the collection is her excellent bibliographical essay. This provides an overview of key works of US feminist scholarship from the last 20 years. Upper-division undergraduates and above.—Choice