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Partners in Production?
Women, Farm, and Family in Ireland
192 pages, 6 tables, bibliog., index
ISBN 978-1-57181-939-0 $135.00/£99.00 Hb Published (June 1998)
ISBN 978-1-57181-969-7 $27.95/£22.95 Pb Published (June 1998)
"The tape recorder has done the job well. Ms. O'Hara's women offer valuable, fascinating, sometimes poignant accounts of their lives." · Labor History
In Ireland, family farming retains enormous ideological and cultural significance. As a social form it is one of the last preserves of male dominance in which women's contributions and concerns are largely overlooked. This book breaks new ground as the first major study of Irish farm families in which women are the focus of attention. Little is known of how gender relations actually work themselves out within farm families, or of farm women's understanding of their situation, but even a casual observer would conclude that Irish farm women are not without influence. This volume reveals how contemporary farm women experience life on the family farm (often through their own voices) and how they have managed to create their own spheres of influence, despite their apparent unequal status and invisibility in the male world of agricultures.
This study not only makes farm women's subordination explicit, but in discerning the sources and force of their influence within and outside the farm family, it offers a challenge to existing explanations of the evolution of Irish rural social structures. It also suggests that feminist theories of the family need to pay closer attention to the mother's influence on social reproduction.
Patricia O'Hara combines teaching at University College, Cork with research and work as a consultant sociologist to government departments, universities, agencies, and NGOs.