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The objective of this thesis focuses on the study of domestic and care work in Spain from a specific perspective: an analysis of class and gender. The thesis discusses how care is configured between classes and between genders, in other words, how care is distributed and managed depending on the particular position of individuals in both coordinate axes. Therefore, this thesis is based on a sociological perspective that emphasizes conflict, social divisions and power relations and, consequently, it differs from the harmonic or functionalist theories of social reality. This thesis does not converge with an individualistic or culturalist approach of the object of study, but on the contrary, claims social class as an axis of social division and as a source of distribution of material, cultural and symbolic resources in a determined society.
This thesis rose from a triple concern that consists of three levels of analysis: a) macro level: the global context of care, b) meso level: the context of care in the Mediterranean countries and c) micro level: care decisions and care practices of the Spanish households, and more particularly, of women. Therefore, these practices are analyzed from its macro structural context, understanding that are not random configurations or the result of "individual preferences" or motivational principles, but are outcomes resulting from the intersection of the axes of power underlying the model of care of the Spanish society: class and gender, as well as other essential factors such as ethnicity or generation. The thesis is based on the idea, then, that care is a phenomenon socially divided, this is to say, a phenomenon that is not only experienced and internalized by women differentially, but is a product and producer of social inequalities: intergender ―between genders― and intragender ―between women.
The ultimate goal of the thesis is to construct a "typology of women," according to their way of managing domestic and care work. But beyond seeing how women organize and manage it in their daily lives, the thesis explores the reasons of this management and the possibilities of its transformation. This hermeneutic approach to the care practices is only achievable through qualitative methodology. In fact, empirical observation focuses on the qualitative analysis of a theoretical sample of twenty-five women from different socioeconomic classes, which are summarized into four "types": working class, new middle class, old middle class and capitalist class. The socioeconomic position of women was constructed from the occupational class which has been complemented with other important factors of social stratification as the generation ―life-cycle.
In addition, quantitative analysis is highly beneficial to this thesis. The exploitation of primary and secondary data is a basic task in the selection process of the key informants.