“I’M LUCKY” . . . TO HAVE FOUND CHILD CARE: EVOKING LUCK WHILE MANAGING CHILD CARE NEEDS IN A CHANGING ECONOMY
AbstractThis research1 looks at the impact of the rise of women’s non-standard, service sector employment on gender roles, identities and relations, and compares the complex task of finding and managing formal and informal non-parental child care in rural and semi-rural communities in two policy jurisdictions (Ontario and Quebec) in the Ottawa Valley. It seeks to understand the ways in which the neo-liberal reconfiguration of local economies impact on the experiences of employed, non-urban women with young children – mitigated by provincial policy decisions – through documenting the strategies they adopt to cope with challenges when managing this family-market-state nexus. This paper specifically focuses on mothers’ use of the notion of “luck” in describing how they found and managed their unique child care needs. Luck, in the psychological literature, is often treated as either an external, unstable, and uncontrollable cause, or an internal personal attribute. This paper shows that its use and invocation in response to questions about finding and managing child care has to do with gendered perceptions of control and power(lessness) over social circumstances related to geography, government policies, and changing, and at time precarious, economic/labour market circumstances.
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