Gender Restructuring; Five Labour-Markets Compared

S. Walby, P. Bagguley

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Restructuring theory, which has made some radical changes to the understanding of the relations between the social and the spatial, has had relatively little to say about the restructuring of gender relations across time and space. In this paper restructuring theory is built on, applying it to the analysis of the changing gender composition and structuring of the work force. First, the implicit assumptions about gender in existing theory are examined so that they can be explicitly addressed using empirical evidence. Three hidden hypotheses about the spatial restructuring of gender relations in employment are pulled through and tested against comparative data from five local labour-markets. There follows a discussion of the extent to which women can be theorised as a spatial reserve army of labour, as a deskilled proletariat in the peripheral regions, or sex-typed sectoral composition taken as explanatory of future changes, After each of these is found wanting in relation to the data, a fourth thesis involving a theorisation of patriarchal as well as capitalist relations is introduced.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)277-292
Number of pages16
JournalEnvironment and Planning D: Society and Space
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - Sept 1989

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