Skip to main content

Politics and International Relations (PIR): Events


Part-Time for All: New Norms for Work and Care

Part-Time for All: New Norms for Work and Care
Speaker: Professor Jennifer Nedelsky # University of Toronto
Hosted by
Introduced by
Date and Time
28th Mar 2017 15:00 - 28th Mar 2017 16:30
CMB Staff Room 6th floor
The talk will present the main arguments from Jenny's  (co-authored) book manuscript, A Care Manifesto: Toward New Norms of (Part)-Time for All. The project addresses three critical problems that arise out of dysfunctional norms of work and care: unsustainable stress on families, persistent inequality for women and others who do care work, and policy makers who are ignorant about the care work that life requires. My argument is that the new norms should be 12-30 hours of unpaid care from everybody, along with 12-30 hours of paid work. The claim is that only a radical transformation of the structures of work and care can solve all of these critical problems. The objective of the book is to generate lively public conversation that moves the current “work-family balance” discussion onto the terrain of the kind of fundamental change that can actually address the problems. The project is also an exploration of the relation between norms, policy and law, since its primary focus is on the generation of new norms, with secondary attention (in the chapter on work) to the kinds of law and policy that would facilitate the norm transformation. It presents an argument about the inevitably coercive force of norms, and thus the importance of democratic deliberation about norms. Existing norms organize the distribution of care around hierarchies of gender, race, class, and citizenship status. Both the work of care and the people who do it are denigrated. To achieve an equal society, the distribution of care must be just and equal. Only a radical restructuring of norms can achieve this, and because the structures of work and care are so fully intertwined, norms around both work and care must be transformed. The chapter explores some of the details of what new norms of care would look like.
Student lying on grass reading book