Cranford, Cynthia

Associate Professor Sociology

Contact Information

Mailing Address: 
3359 Mississauga Road
Postal Code: 
L5L 1C6
Cynthia Cranford

Professor Cynthia Cranford’s primary area of specialization is the sociology of work. Her past and current research bridges the areas of work, gender and migration. For the past 5 years she has been collecting and analyzing data from a large, qualitative, comparative study of in-home personal support work in California and Ontario, funded by the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada. In-home personal support work is the bodywork, emotion work and housework to support people with disabilities – due to birth, injury, illness or age – to remain in their own homes.

The conceptual focus of this book project is the relationship between flexibility and security in the labour market and in the daily relations of work. Flexible work organization generally brings insecurity for workers, especially migrant women workers, due to the modeling of labour and employment legislation and policy on the industrial factor and its standard full-time, continuous employment with a single employer. By contrast, home-based and personal support work, like most care work is characterized by hybridity and flexibility and recipients of services, and sometimes workers, value these traits because they are linked to quality care. However, flexibility strategies of employers and governments, linked to cost as much as quality, results in multiple flexibility-security trade-offs for both recipients and workers. This study probes these conflicts, their sources and consequences, and conceives of ways to bring flexibility with security through multiple levels of analysis and types of data.This study makes multiple comparisons in order to map how in-home personal support is organized and how it’s shapes conflicts, or solidarities, between those receiving and directly providing the support.

In the past year, Professor Cranford has also begun collaborating with others inside and outside the Department of Sociology through a large, partnership grant on Gender, Migration and the Work of Care. She has thus far pulled out aspects of the project discussed above that is most related to migration, such as the work histories of the workers, the racialization of recipient preferences for workers, and racialized conflicts over how much of the job is housework, to share with the project. In the coming years interviews will be conducted with in-home personal support workers in multiple cities including San Francisco and possibly Vancouver, expanding the empirical scope of her work in Flexibility or Security? and deepening the focus on the nexus of gender, migration and care work.


Cranford, Cynthia. 2007. “’It’s Time to Leave Machismo Behind’: Challenging Gender Inequality in an Immigrant Union.” Gender & Society, 21,3:409.

Cranford, Cynthia. 2007. “Constructing Union Motherhood: Gender and Social Reproduction in the Los Angeles Justice for Janitors Movement.” Qualitative Sociology, 30,3:361.

Cranford, Cynthia, Judy Fudge, Eric Tucker and Leah F. Vosko. 2005. Self Employed Workers Organize: Law, Policy and Unions. McGill-Queens University Press.

Cranford, Cynthia, 2005. “Networks of Exploitation: Immigrant Labor and the Restructuring of the Los Angeles Janitorial Industry.” Social Problems 52,3:379.


Gender, Work Occupations and Organizations, International Migration, Labour and Industrial Relations


Gender and Family; Stratification, Work, and Labour Markets
Ph.D. (University of Southern California)