Berkeley Center for Working Families








of California, Berkeley

An Alfred P. Sloan Center



The Berkeley Center for Working Families was established in September 1998 through a grant to Prof. Arlie Russell Hochschild from the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation. Arlie Hochschild and Barrie Thorne were Co-Directors of the Center, which was an active node of intellectual activity for four years (it closed on August 31, 2002).

Located within the Institute for the Study of Social Change, the CWF was devoted to three goals. First, to conduct innovative and theory-generating research that sheds light on the experiences of U.S. dual-earner families, with an emphasis on the effects of various "cultures of care" on family welfare. "Cultures of care" refers to the beliefs and practices that define, guide, and express the care that working families give and receive from relatives, friends, co-workers, members of society, and public institutions. We worked to form a lively intellectual community that encouraged collaborative and qualitative research, with comparisons of patterns of care across lines of racial ethnicity and social class. Our second goal was to train young scholars to do research on working families.  They received guidance from Center researchers and faculty and joined in our workshops and other events. Our third goal was to disseminate ideas and information to other scholars and to the public at large through published works, public addresses, and informal consultation with the media, business, labor, child care, educational and governmental groups.


We set out to establish a nurturing and serious intellectual community by regularly inviting imaginative scholars and thinkers from the UC Berkeley campus, and from around the nation to give workshops, lectures, and to be in residence at the Center. Over 30 UC Berkeley faculty, a rotating group of CWF-funded post-graduate and pre-doctoral reserchers, and other graduate students, affiliated scholars, and people from the community participated in our weekly workshops and other events.

Among our workshop speakers were the economists Juliet Schor (author of The Overworked American; The Overspent American), Nancy Folbre (author of The Invisible Heart), and Bob Drago (author of Unlevel Playing Field and organizer of the work-family electronic listserv); journalist Barbara Ehrenreich (author of Nickled and Dimed, Fear of Falling, and For Her Own Good, written with Deirdre English, one of our affiliated Berkeley faculty); political theorist Joan Tronto (her book, Moral Boundaries, theorizes processes of care); sociologists Viviana Zelizer (Pricing the Priceless Child and The Social Meaning of Money), Mary Patillo-McCoy (Black Picket Fences), Eviatar Zerubavel (Hidden Rhythms); Marjorie DeVault (Feeding the Family); Mary Romero (Maid in the USA); Pierrette Hondagneu-Sotelo (Doméstica); Lillian Rubin (Worlds of Pain; Families on the Faultline); R. W. Connell (Gender and Power and Masculinities); Alan Prout (co-author of Theorizing Childhoods);  Candace Clark (Misery and Company: Sympathy in Everyday Life);  Barry Wellman (Networks in the Global Village);  historians John Gillis (A World of their Own Making), Gary Cross (An All-Consuming Century and Kids' Stuff: Toys and the Changing Worlds of American Childhood), Elsa Barkley Brown (co-editor of Black Women in America), Peter Stearn (The Battleground of Desire), Donna Franklin (Ensuring Inequality: The Structural Transformation of the African American Family); Gideon Kunda (author of Engineering Culture) and Ayikwei Armah (The Healers).

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Updated 02/23/03