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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.
|List of Tables|
|1||Women in Family Farming in Ireland: The Context||1|
|2||Women, Farm and Family in Ireland: Concepts and Issues||12|
|3||Researching Women in Farm Families||41|
|4||Creating the Farm Family: Becoming a Farm Wife||54|
|5||Inside the Family Farm: Women's Work and Family Farming||81|
|6||Inside the Farm Family: Distribution of Resources||113|
|7||Securing the Future: The Reproductive Role of Farm Women||133|
|8||Women in Family Farming in Ireland: Conclusions and Reflections||153|