The Covid-19 Pandemic Global Risks and Uncertainties
Women’s ‘Connected Lives’ During The Covid-19 Pandemic: From Home to the EconomyFiliz Baloğlu
COVID-19 became a part of our lives as a global health and economic crisis and it brought with it a new reality where individuals feel an increased need for each other. As a result of quarantining, social distancing and hygiene precautions, “home” became the safest place of all, which in turn increased the effort and burden of caring for family members. The crisis increased the visibility of the double burden that women shoulder by both working at jobs and providing care at home. The purpose of this study is to reveal the intersections of domestic life and economy due to the new burdens that women, who are “working from home” or “unemployed” in the COVID-19 process, had to shoulder in the context of care work. Care work sustains life and involves intimate relationships. Intimate relationships that surround domestic life extend from relationships between family members to parents-children-caregivers or patients and doctors. Intimate relationships, by nature, include the irrational as well as the rational. Yet the fact that care work is provided for free in the domestic realm results in this type of work to be excluded by mainstream economics, to be deemed a nonmarket service, and to be only included in the irrational realm. Economic sociology also stands close to economics and focuses more on phenomena within the market. The pandemic has clearly showed that this approach is deficient. From this premise, the foundation of this study is the ‘connected lives’ approach developed by Viviana Zelizer as an alternative in economic sociology, which explains the relationality between intimate relationships and the economy. Zelizer’s approach is based on a series of negotiations that shape individuals’ obligations and rights inside or outside the home, in the framework of this relationality that includes shared understandings and emotions. Pre-pandemic established negotiations in the context of care work that allow women to participate in labor markets have changed. Accordingly, the study tries to exhibit the way these new negotiations are shaping the relationship between domestic life and the economy, and to present foresight on whether new negotiations will continue or not. It is understood that this new way of sharing care work within the household can bring some opportunities as well as the risk of reproducing and reinforcing existing problems.