n IFE PsychologIA : An International Journal - Redefining work and nonwork : a qualitative study comparing the literature and women's subjective experience of work and nonwork

Volume 12, Issue 1
  • ISSN : 1117-1421



This qualitative study based on interviews with ten Nigerian women confirms the subjective nature of work and nonwork. Results suggest that the concepts of work and nonwork may evolve with changing life circumstances. For unmarried interviewees, work was closely linked to paid employment and nonwork was mostly unpaid, non-obligatory activity, as in the bulk of the literature; the obligation acquired in exchange for pay was their criterion for work. The married interviewees with two or more children held a much wider concept of work that covered also the home, family and voluntary work, and synthesized the diverse definitions found in the literature with an added emphasis on responsibility. They defined nonwork essentially as relaxation. Effort, purpose and sense of responsibility were their criteria for work.

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