GERO 0300 - Caregiving and Carework

Credits: 3

Crosslisted: SOCI 0341 .

Carework is foundational to human survival, and is the social glue that keeps families and communities intact. But how much do we, as a society, value care labor? Who should be responsible for family care and the needs of children, the sick, frail elderly, and other vulnerable people? Some call it "love's labor," but does that mean it has no monetary value? And when carework does become paid labor, why are wages so low? In this course, students will explore the tension between carework as private responsibility and carework as a "public good," worthy of national investment. Students begin the course by examining the "price" of caring, focusing particularly on the cost of motherhood. Students will also take a comparative angle on care by considering other nations' family policies as well as comparing the disparity in access to care across socioeconomic classes within the United States. Students will continue to return to the following question throughout the course as they examine other aspects of carework: should the larger society have responsibility to ensure people have decent care? Throughout this course, students' personal reflections about career, family, and carework will be welcome in class discussion.

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