This paper explores recent arguments about the marketization of female labor, in the context of a wider analysis of the role of concepts like 'the market' and 'individualization' in sociological accounts of change in employment relations. It will be argued that within sociology there has been a tendency for rapid, large-scale changes in employment relations to be characterized as the breakdown of social influences or structures and as the emergence of atomized, individuated market forces. In the most recent models, change in the nature of gendered positions within employment are presented in terms of a decline of social structuring and social constraint. These emergent accounts hold similarities to classical economics, and to Marx's and Weber's accounts of employment, which also characterized new forms of employment relations in terms of the emptying of their social content and their repl placement by market forms. An alternative, moral economy, perspective which foregrounds the continued significance of social relations in the structuring of employment and employment change is offered. The argument is developed through an analysis of gendered patterns of employment and change in family form.