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Time to clean: On resistance and the temporality of cleaning
Stockholm University, Faculty of Humanities, Department of Ethnology, History of Religions and Gender Studies, Gender Studies.
Number of Authors: 12019 (English)In: Sociologisk forskning, ISSN 0038-0342, Vol. 56, no 3-4, p. 275-288Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

Cleaning is a practice with low status. Most people single out cleaning as the least attractive of household chores and the people who clean as a profession are usually badly payed. This article is an attempt to discuss why these practices have such a bad reputation - in everyday life, in work, in popular culture and, not the least, in the feminist movement. Through ethnographic data primarily based on interviews, I investigate the historically imbedded meanings tied to practices of tidying up. Drawing on theories of queer temporality, I highlight what I want to call the temporality of cleaning - the repetitiveness and direction backwards and sideways instead of forward - as a possible answer. The circular practice of taking care of our physical remains remind us of our approaching death, rather than of progress, and thus generates feelings of anger and despair. But instead of ignoring or avoiding this reminder of another time, I argue for a feminist appraisal of the temporality of cleaning. In line with scholars within resistance studies who urge for a sensibility for the temporal aspects of everyday resistance, I propose that a feminist politics that puts cleaning at the center rather than in the margins would acknowledge our mutual dependency and co-living with the material world around us.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2019. Vol. 56, no 3-4, p. 275-288
Keywords [en]
cleaning, household work, queer temporality, gender, resistance, ethics of care
National Category
Sociology Gender Studies
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:su:diva-176650ISI: 000495372800006OAI: oai:DiVA.org:su-176650DiVA, id: diva2:1381584
Available from: 2019-12-23 Created: 2019-12-23 Last updated: 2019-12-23Bibliographically approved

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