Capturing Conflicting Accounts of Domestic Labour:The Household Portrait as a Methodology


Drawing on data from a UK study conducted in 2014/2015, based on qualitative interviews with 25 working parent, heterosexual couples on their domestic division of labour, I argue that the interactive methodology of the ‘Household Portrait’ not only provides data on the distribution of household labour but also reveals gender differences in how domestic labour is conceptualised and measured. Disagreements and inconsistencies between couples over who ‘mostly’ does various tasks embody gendered perceptions of the meaning of doing domestic tasks and the appropriate temporal frame for evaluating individual contributions. Partners’ joking competition over their respective contributions highlight not just the normative expectations guiding what women and men feel they should do but also the criteria that they think should be used to measure their contributions.

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Divisions: College of Business and Social Sciences > School of Social Sciences & Humanities > Sociology and Policy
College of Business and Social Sciences > School of Social Sciences & Humanities
Additional Information: This article is distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 License ( which permits non-commercial use, reproduction and distribution of the work without further permission provided the original work is attributed as specified on the SAGE and Open Access page (
Uncontrolled Keywords: domestic labour,family conflict,gender,methodology,normative expectations,Sociology and Political Science
Publication ISSN: 1360-7804
Last Modified: 14 Jun 2024 07:21
Date Deposited: 08 Sep 2020 09:24
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Related URLs: http://journals ... 360780420951804 (Publisher URL)
http://www.scop ... tnerID=8YFLogxK (Scopus URL)
PURE Output Type: Article
Published Date: 2021-09-01
Published Online Date: 2020-09-02
Accepted Date: 2020-07-27
Authors: Christopher, Emily


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