Daphne Spain is James M. Page Professor and Chair, Department of Urban & Environmental Planning in the School of Architecture at the University of Virginia. She is author of How Women Saved the City.
By using male measures of status--control of labor and property and participation in public life--Spain postulates that gender-based spatial segregation results in lower status and restricted access to knowledge for women. Studying nonindustrial societies and 19th- and 20th-century America, she examines the interior designs of space within the home, school, and workplace. In nonindustrial societies, Spain shows how the division of space within the home indicated a degree of political power. Physical access to schools created ``gendered spaces'' because of male-dominated educational systems. In the workplace, traditional women's jobs were physically segregated, impeding women's access to knowledge and status. Her synthesis and examination of current scholarship are truly unique. Because of the industrial/nonindustrial examination, the volume is a bit disconnected until the final chapter. Too often Spain strays from her concept of space into the concept of women's sphere. Recommended for all academic and large public libraries.-- Jenny Presnell, Miami Univ. Libs., Oxford, Ohio
"This fascinating, scholarly examination delves deeply.
Catharine R. Stimpson, Rutgers University"
Michael Kimmel, State University of New York at Stony Brook"
Catharine R. Stimpson, Rutgers University
Michael Kimmel, State University of New York at Stony Brook
How does the organization of spaces--exterior locales and interiors for living, work and worship--reflect and determine gender relations? Spain (coauthor of American Women in Transition ) takes a cross-cultural, historical approach in answering this question. Among New Guinea's Wogeo Indians ceremonial men's huts serve as storehouses for flutes associated with supernatural powers; their geographic inaccessibility to women ``facilitates preservation of musical knowledge for men,'' which they use as a form of control over women. In contemporary offices women tend to be set pk ``together in one place (the secretarial `pool') that removes them from . . . input into the decision-making processes of the organization.'' For Spain then, gender-segregated spaces reinforce ``status differences between women and men'' to women's disadvantage. Spain details this fascinating topic with an impressive variety of examples, tables and interpretations of popular documents such as back issues of House Beautiful . She neglects, however, the relation of aesthetics to gendered spaces and manages a merely functional, charmless prose style. (Mar.)