Holdsworth, CM (2019) Gendered temporalities of everyday family practices: An analysis of self-help literature on ‘busyness’. Gender, Place and Culture. ISSN 0966-369X

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The busyness of everyday life has received considerable popular and academic attention in recent years. The narrative developed in popular literature is that busyness is the defining temporality of the twenty-first century. While these subjective concerns are repeated in academic scholarship on social temporalities this literature challenges the assumption that social acceleration is uniform and equal. This paper develops accounts of the evenness of social temporalities through a gender analysis of self-help literature on time management and busyness to reveal normative assumptions about the causes of busyness and strategies to alleviate it. The advice in these texts implicitly confirms that men are more likely to be able to consolidate busy lives. This gendered dimension of busyness is revealed in two ways. First, both self-help authors and anecdotes of successful individuals who have transcended busyness are predominately male. Second, the advice offered makes important gendered assumptions about work and care. The message of self-help literature is clear: less is more and fulfilment can be achieved through delegating or deferring distracting tasks. This strategy of prioritisation is essentially patriarchal as it assumes that individuals are in a position of power to make decisions about what tasks should be completed and who does these. Busy working women whose lives transcend work and home cannot defer caring tasks and prioritisation is not always an option. For women the solution to busyness is more likely to be achieved through relational forms of work and care, rather than individual prioritisation.

Item Type: Article
Additional Information: This is the accepted author manuscript (AAM). The final published version (version of record) is available online via Taylor and Francis at https://doi.org/10.1080/0966369X.2019.1615412 - please refer to any applicable terms of use of the publisher.
Uncontrolled Keywords: everyday, busyness, gender, self-help, family practices
Subjects: G Geography. Anthropology. Recreation > GF Human ecology. Anthropogeography > GF31 Human Geography
H Social Sciences > HQ The family. Marriage. Woman > HQ1101 Women. Feminism
Divisions: Faculty of Natural Sciences > School of Geography, Geology and the Environment
Depositing User: Symplectic
Date Deposited: 10 Apr 2019 08:08
Last Modified: 02 Jul 2020 01:30
URI: https://eprints.keele.ac.uk/id/eprint/6174

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