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date: 21 May 2019

Abstract and Keywords

This article is about the power of a norm and its mutation over time: the gender role division of the private nuclear family composed of a male provider and protector, and his dependent children and homemaker wife. Those roles corresponded to rigid distinctions that were made between a male public world of work, money, and politics, on the one hand, and a female private sphere of reproduction and nurturance, on the other. These were prescribed ideals of gender. However, as such, the ideals have had tremendous power, shaping personal identity and the daily lives of men and women, as well as influencing the development of the state, civil society, politics, and the economy, according to a vast and growing scholarship. This article highlights the powerful role played by the norm of separate spheres over two centuries of German history along with the development of civil society and the welfare state.

Keywords: norm, mutation, nurturance, civil society

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