Travail domestique et espace‐temps des femmes


The subject of this article is the division of labour between the sexes which is specific to capitalism, and the characteristics of the space‐time of women. On the basis of works written by historians, we are trying to show that the present division of labour which sentences women primarily to domestic work and men to productive work, is linked to the specifically capitalist separation between production and reproduction. The whole sphere of reproduction where specialized institutions such as school or medicine are closely linked to the family, contributes, through the transformations of domestic work, to the establishment of new social relationships: the children are permanent objects of care and education, the women are defined in terms of mother‐wives. Those transformations can be seen in those of the space and time of urban structures and housing. Now the space‐time of women seems mainly structured by domestic work. Concrete elements underline it: for example the space‐time imposed upon women is delimited by a series of prohibitions bearing upon those places and times that do not belong to domestic work. The constitution of this space‐time is based upon the negation of women’s work within production. Reformulated in terms of mobility, the space‐time of women differs according to social classes but its main features stem from the division of labour between the sexes and the status of the mother‐wife.