1989 volume 7(3) pages 277 – 292
doi:10.1068/d070277

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Walby S, Bagguley P, 1989, "Gender restructuring: five labour-markets compared" Environment and Planning D: Society and Space 7(3) 277 – 292

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Gender restructuring: five labour-markets compared

S Walby, P Bagguley

Received 8 August 1988; in revised form 6 February 1989

Abstract. 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 soace. In this paper restucturing theory is built on, appying 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.

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