My first research question is here. You can see the whole thing if you'd like, but here's a short summary: I am going to start this project by studying the relationship between the individual, family, and work. How, my question goes, have individuals managed and negotiated the complicated relationship between work and the family?
At first glance, involving work in a project on family is odd. Work is in many ways the 'opposite' of family: the distinction between work and family is analogous to the other distinctions--work and play, and public and private, professional and personal--by which we divide our lives. So why talk about work and family?
Firstly, several of the major changes in family life in the 20th century have been brought about by changes and developments in the sphere of work; trying to understand changes in family life without looking at work is to miss out on many important clues and explanations that the world of work can offer.
Secondly, from the standpoint of the individual, family and work together shape, further, and frustrate ambitions and desires. It is the combination of influences and pressures that makes each individual unique and offers us a varied palette from which we can paint the portrait of a family and its people. It is to understand how each individual has faced a unique set of challenges and responded in his or her unique way that I plan to launch this study.
I intend to complete this project through a series of interviews with 3 generations of family members, paying attention 1. to differences between the experiences of men and women. and 2. to changes over time.
How far have I got? So far, I have conducted 5 interviews: with my parents, my aunt and uncle, and my grandfather. I hope to conduct 2 or 3 more within the week. My plan is to have one blog entry a day, with short excerpts or analyses of each interview.