This article examines the emancipatory and restrictive dimensions of self-employed homework. The analysis is based on in-depth interviews with 46 individuals, predominantly women, who work in home-based, self-employed professional, domestic service, or craft production ventures. In line with predictions that self-employed homework is liberating to workers, most respondents viewed self-employed homework as a means for breaking away from traditional employment options. Mothers also hoped to combine paid work and child care. However, in line with exploitation hypotheses, findings indicate that the profit requirements of doing business and conflicts between work and family demands led respondents to replicate at home some of the negative, exploitative work arrangements that they tried to escape. The social location of respondents, which included gender, family status, resources, and race-ethnicity as well as local and regional economic conditions, varied respondents'experiences of self-employed homework and their strategies for confronting dilemmas.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Sociology and Political Science
- Organizational Behavior and Human Resource Management