Humanist Discussion Group, Vol. 13, No. 332.
Centre for Computing in the Humanities, King's College London
Date: Mon, 03 Jan 2000 10:28:43 -0500
From: Hope Greenberg <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Subject: Re: 13.0331 technology on the verge
Humanist Discussion Group wrote:
> The first is that "For every new labor-saving device, people report
> feeling more rushed." I would suppose that the notion of the labour-
> saving device has been studied historically and sociologically
> (citations welcome),
As you wish:
Cowan, Ruth Schwartz. "More Work for Mother: The Ironies of Household
Technology from the Open Hearth to the Microwave." New York: Basic
Books, Inc., 1983.
The study examines how time saving technologies don't always result in
actually saving time, but also at how the sexual division of labour that
has been constructed over the past 150 years need not have turned out as
it did. It raises questions like: If you cook a one-pot meal over an
open fire, then get a four burner closed stove and are now expected to
prepare multi-course meals, what time have you actually saved? or Why
are certain tasks completely industrialized and moved out of the home
while others are only partially industrialized and remain home-centered?
This last question is of particular interest as we see shifts in our
perceptions of what tasks are appropriate for in-home and out of home.
Though not addressed in this book (it was, after all, published in 1983)
information technology must certainly be counted now as a shaper of
change. Education, child care, shopping, cooking, communication,
telecommuting--all in flux for a variety of reasons--what role does
technology play in those shifts and how do our preceptions of where such
activities belong impact how we shape the technology? And what does
techno-based humanities scholarship have in common with washing socks
and sweeping floors? Well, lots actually, but you had other questions in
your post which deserve more attention, so I'll leave this here for now
and ruminate on those a bit.
email@example.com, U of Vermont
Humanist Discussion Group
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