(Sociology & Social Policy)
Ph.D. Date: May 2022 (Expected)
Dissertation Title: The Cognitive Dimension of Household Labor
Dissertation Committee: Alexandra A. Killewald (Co-Chair), Jocelyn Viterna (Co-Chair), Michèle Lamont, and Kathleen Gerson (New York University)
Research/Teaching Interests: Gender, Marriage and Family, Inequality, Sociology of Culture, Qualitative Methods
Allison Daminger is a Ph.D. candidate in Sociology & Social Policy at Harvard University and a graduate student fellow at the Radcliffe Institute for Advanced Study. She studies how and why gender continues to shape the burdens we bear and benefits we enjoy as members of contemporary families.
Daminger's current project focuses on "cognitive labor." Decades of sociological research shows a persistent gender gap in household labor contributions, but common definitions of that labor focus solely on chores like cooking, cleaning, and shopping. Via in-depth interviews of couples with children, she identifies cognitive labor as the work of anticipating household needs, identifying options for meeting those needs, deciding among the options, and monitoring the outcomes. She also shows that cognitive labor is a major component of household life and that this labor is unequally distributed on the basis of gender. In related work, Daminger finds that even couples who aspire to equality sometimes divide cognitive labor unequally, in part because they are able to erase or obscure gender’s influence on their practices.
This research has been published in the American Sociological Review and recognized by three sections of the American Sociological Association: Sex and Gender; Family; and Inequality, Poverty, and Mobility. Daminger has received funding support from numerous sources, including the Weatherhead Initiative for Gender Inequality, the Center for American Political Studies, and the James M. and Cathleen D. Stone Ph.D. Fellowship in Inequality and Wealth Concentration.