Thorne, Barrue. “Pick-up at Oakdale Elementary School: Work and family from the vantage points of chlidren”. Berkeley Center for Working Families Working Paper, No. 2, 1999.
Children are visible in the literature on work and family, but their presence is mostly passive, framed by their economic and emotional dependence, by their need for adult labor and time, and by "developmental outcomes" correlated with various arrangements for their care. This paper, based on collaborative fieldwork in a mixed-income, ethnically diverse area of Oakland, lays out a broader view. It considers economic, social, and cultural changes that are altering the dynamics of contemporary childhoods; and it draws upon theories of care to illuminate the moving dialectic of child and adult agency involved in the process of growing up. These themes are brought into analytic focus through an interrelated set of concepts: caring projects, caring processes, and reading signs of care. The paper concludes by arguing that the study of work and family is under-theorized and too narrowly defined and by suggesting strategies for re-visioning this field of study.