Managing Paid Employment and Family Life

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter


Beck and Beck-Gernsheim (2001) argue that the labour market and family are often in conflict within late modernity because the needs of the labour market, flexibility, individualization and mobility, are antithetical to the needs of family life, stability, rootedness and altruism. Since individualism enjoys high purchase in late modernity, workers are expected to create a highly individualized career path, to be agile, adaptable and mobile. They contend that individualization puts high stress on the family as two individuals struggle to reconcile their divergent career paths, both unwilling to sacrifice their professional aspirations for the benefit of the relationship. This leads to what they call ‘a long and bitter battle’ between the sexes (Beck and Beck-Gernsheim, 1995: 14). Women are believed to be particularly vulnerable in this conflict because they are caught between the traditional expectation of living for others and the late modern ideal of living a life of one’s own. While Beck and Beck-Gernsheim’s point of reference is the neoliberal society of contemporary Western Europe, their arguments imply a certain universality in these social trends.

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationGenders and Sexualities in the Social Sciences
PublisherPalgrave Macmillan Ltd.
Number of pages22
Publication statusPublished - 2013

Publication series

NameGenders and Sexualities in the Social Sciences
ISSN (Print)2947-8782
ISSN (Electronic)2947-8790

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Social Sciences (miscellaneous)
  • Sociology and Political Science
  • Gender Studies
  • Life-span and Life-course Studies


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