Center for Studies in Demography and Ecology

Leaning In to the ‘Third Shift’: Intensive Grandmothering and Family Inequality

Posted: 2/22/2019 ()

Jennifer Utrata, Visiting Affiliate at CSDE & Associate Professor of Sociology at the University of Puget Sound, will present on her current research on the undertheorized phenomenon of intensive grandmothering, based on in-depth qualitative interviews and ethnographic observations. The ideology of “intensive mothering” is the dominant standard for American mothering. But most intensive mothering research assumes a nuclear family model, marginalizing intergenerational relations in family life. However, demographic and cultural changes suggest that intergenerational relations and supports are becoming increasingly important for families, especially for the many experiencing marital instability or economic anxieties. She argues that attention to intergenerational relations is imperative for advancing our understanding of intensive mothering in addition to the broader stalled gender revolution in American family life. Many grandmothers leaning into what constitutes a “third shift” of carework – caregiving outside the home, especially for relatives (Gerstel 2000) – support and enable intensive mothering practices. Grandmothers want to help, but they find themselves doing much more than they anticipated.

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Date: 03/01/2019

Time: 12:30-1:30 PM

Location: 121 Raitt