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Sociology 001 – Introduction to Sociology
Questions on Readings:
“Intersection of Biography and History: My Intellectual Journey,” by Mary Romero
Vocabulary: Locate the following terms/phrases in the article, define them (look in your text or on line), and think of an example of each as it applies to your life:
sexist, paternalistic banter feminist sisterhood
normative expectations of class behavior
norms and values
stigma of domestic service
double day/ second shift
1) What does it mean to be an “invisible” worker? Is it only domestic workers that are invisible? Are there “invisible” workers at the university, or in your community? What types of jobs are likely to be “invisible in American society? Have you ever worked at a job where you felt “invisible”?
2) How/why does Romero’s “biography” lead her to her research focus on domestic workers in the United States? Reflect on your own “taken-for-granted,” “unexamined” reality growing up – are there any “public issues” surrounding your “private troubles” that might warrant further sociological examination? Is there a sociological research question lurking in your biography?
3) What challenges did Romero face when trying to recruit subjects for her study?
4) Why is it necessary to know the “historical background” of the Mexican American war, the Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo, and the internal migration of Chicano and Chicana workers in order to understand the contemporary experiences of Chicanas who work as domestics?
5) In her discussion of her research finding, Romero highlights the “paradox” of domestic service for workers. What is the paradox?
6) Romero claims that her research raises some important questions about the “sisterhood” between women of different racial, ethnic and class backgrounds and also (though not as explicit) about the gender-based division of labor in most households. “Housework is ascribed in the basis of gender, and it is further divided along class lines and, in most cases, by race and ethnicity.”
What is the response of Romero’s “feminist” colleagues to her research? Why is their response troubling?
What does paid domestic work reveal about the relations between women of different class levels?
Why is the issue of paid and unpaid household labor problematic for the political and social relationships between women and between women and men?
7) How is this essay an example of Mill’s “sociological imagination”? Be sure to cite specific examples from the essay in your discussion.
8) How does this essay illustrate the knower/ known relationship? Be sure to cite specific examples from the essay in your discussion.