Sociology: Families and Households - Couples

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  • Created on: 22-04-21 17:36
Instrumental role:
- Geared towards achieving success at work so that he can provide for the family financially.

- He is the breadwinner.
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Expressive Role:
- Geared towards primary socialisation of the children and meeting the family's emotional needs.

-She is the homemaker, a full-time housewife rather than a wage earner.
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Domestic division of labour:
- In Talcott Parsons functionalist model of the family there is a clear division of labour between husband and wife.

- The husband is said to have an instrumental role geared towards achieving success at work so he can provide for his family.
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Domestic division of labour criticism:
-Young and Wilmott argue men are now taking a greater share of domestic tasks.

- Feminist sociologists reject Parsons' view that the division of labour is natural, they say it only benefits men.
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Domestic division of labour: Young and Wilmott (1973)
- They take a march of progress view of the history of the family, they see family life as gradually improving for all of it's members becoming more equal and democratic.

- They argue there's been a long term trend away from segregated conjugal roles.
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Domestic division of labour: New Right and Functionalists
Hold the view that this biological division of labour is beneficial to both men and women, to their children and to wider society.
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Domestic division of labour: Ann Oakley
- She disagrees with the march of progress view and believes the housewife role has become the dominant role for married women.

- She also argues women who do work have the low-paid jobs which are often an extension of the housewife role etc. nursing.
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Domestic division of labour: Elizabeth Bott (1957)
Distinguishes between the two types of conjugal roles (roles within marriage).
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Segregated conjugal roles:
- Where the couple have separate roles: a male breadwinner and a female homemaker/carer, as in Parsons' instrumental and expressive roles.

- Their leisure activities also tend to be separate.
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Joint conjugal roles:
Where the couple share tasks such as housework and childcare and spend their leisure time together.
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March of progress view:
- The 'March of Progress' is the assumption that there has been a move from segregated to integrated conjugal roles.

- This idea is put forward by Willmott and Young in ' The Symmetrical Family'.
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Symmetrical Family:
- One in which roles of husbands and wives, although not identical, are now more similar.

- E.g. women now go out to work, although this may be part time rather than full time.
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Major Social Changes:
Have resulted in the rise of the symmetrical nuclear family such as changes in women's position, geographic mobility, new technology and higher living standards.
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Symmetrical families were more common among:
Younger couples, those who were geographically and socially isolated, and the more affluent (better off).
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Willmott and Young offer a number of reasons for the development of the stage 3 family.These include: Geographical mobility
- Due to the decrease of extended kinship there are no longer separate male and female networks of friends and especially kin) for them to mix with.

- Increases dependence on each other.
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Willmott and Young offer a number of reasons for the development of the stage 3 family.These include: Affluence
- Wives are starting to take up paid employment outside the home.

- Has her own money now so less dependent on male partner so has more power and authority so decision making is likely to be shared.
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illmott and Young offer a number of reasons for the development of the stage 3 family.These include: Values
- Stage 3 family is a home centred unit so money is spent on the home and consumer products for the home.

- New technology encourages couples to become more home centred building the relation ship and the home. Due to improved living standards.
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March of progress view criticism: Ann Oakley (1974) - Feminist
- She rejects Willmott and Young's evidence for jointness in the symmetrical family. Argues that they exaggerate the mens role

- Oakley argues that the housewife role has become the primary role for women as a result of industrialisation.
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March of progress view criticism: Ann Oakley - Feminist (Effects of Industrialisation)
1. Separation of men from domestic work - only for women to do.
2. Women and Children have financial dependence on men.
3. Isolation of housework and childcare from other work (private sphere).
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March of progress view criticism (Evidence): Ann Oakley (1974) - Feminist
- She found some evidence of husbands helping in the home but no evidence of a trend towards symmetry.

- Only 15% if husbands had a high level of participation in housework, and only 25% had a high level of participation in childcare.
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March of progress view criticism: Morris (1990) - Feminist
- Even where the wife was working and the husband unemployed the wife still did the majority of the housework.

- Men suffered from a crisis of masculinity having lost their breadwinner role and so were reluctant to take on the feminine domestic role.
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March of progress view criticism: Duncombe and Marsden (1995)
Triple shift:

1. Domestic Labour
2. Paid Work
3. Emotional work as an added extra(expressive role, caring for husband and child's needs.
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March of progress view criticism: Mary Boulton (1983)
- She argues that Young and Willmott exaggerate men's contribution by looking at the tasks involved in childcare rather than the responsibilities.
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March of progress view criticism: Alan Warde and Kevin Hetherington (1993)
- Found that sex-typing of domestic tasks remained strong.

- For example, wives were 30 times more likely to be the last person to have done the washing, while the husbands were four times more likely to be the last person to wash the car.
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March of progress view: Criticisms of Oakley, Morris and Duncombe
- Man-Yee-Kan (2001): Found income, employment, age and education affected how much housework women did: Better paid, younger, better educated women did less housework.

- Gershuny: Found that wives who worked full time did less housework.
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Argument for: Couples are becoming more equal - Jonathan Gershuny (1994)
- Argues that women working full-time is leading to a more equal division of labour in the home.

- Using time studies, he found that these women did less domestic work than other women.
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Argument for: Couples are becoming more equal -Oriel Sullivan (2000)
- Analysis of nationally representative data collected in 1975, 1987 and 1997 found a trend towards women doing a smaller share of domestic work and men doing more.
- Her analysis showed an increase in the number of couples with equal division of labour.
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Argument for: Couples are becoming more equal -Gershuny (1994)
- Women who work full time do less housework. Couples whose parents has more equal relationships were more likely to share housework.

- The longer a woman has been in paid work, the more housework her husband is likely to do.
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Argument against: British Social Attitudes Survey (2013)
- Found a fall in the number of people who think it is the man's job to earn money and the woman's to look after home and family.

- In 1984, 45% of men and 41% of women agreed with the view, but by 2012 only 13% of men and 12% of women agreed.
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Argument against: Feminist View
- BSA survey found that in 2012 men on average did 8 hours of housework a week, whereas women did 13 hours.

- Overall women did twice as much as men.
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Argument against: Traditional gender lines
- Women were much more likely to do the laundry, care for sick family members, shop for groceries, do the cleaning and prepare the meals.

- Men were more likely to do small repairs around the house.
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Argument against: Graham Allan (1985)
Argues that women's tasks such as washing and cleaning, are less intrinsically satisfying.
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Argument against: Boulton (1983)
Points out that although fathers may help by performing specific childcare tasks, it is usually the mother who takes responsibility for child's security and well-being.
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Argument against: Dex and Ward (2007)
Found that, although fathers had quite high levels of involvement with their three year olds (for example, 78% playing with their children), when it came to caring for sick child, only 1% of father took the main responsibility.
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Argument against: Braun, Vincent and Ball (2011)
- Found that only three families out of 70 studied was the father the main carer.

- Most were 'background father' and other help the 'provider ideology' that their role was the breadwinner.
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Argument against: Arlie Russell Hochschild (2013)
- 'Emotion work'.

- Feminists noted that women are often required to perform emotion work, where they are responsible for managing the emotions and feelings of family members.
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Argument against: Jean Duncombe and Dennis Marsden (1995)
Argue that women have to perform a 'triple shift' of housework, paid work and emotion work.
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Argument against: 24/7 Society
- Flexible working patterns.These changes have led to people's time being more fragmented and 'de-routinised'.
-Therefore according to Southerton, achieving quality time is difficult for mother as they are constantly juggling the demands.
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What are the two ways of explaining the gender division of labour:
- The cultural explanation of inequality.

- The material explanation of inequality.
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Definition of the cultural explanation of inequality:
- In this view, the division of labour is determined by patriarchal norms and values that shape the gender roles in our culture

- Women perform more domestic labour simply because that is what society expects them to do and has socialised them to do.
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Cultural explanation of inequality: Gershuny (1994)
If your parents have equal roles, so will you. Role models are important.
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Cultural explanation of inequality: Man Yee Kan (2001)
- Younger men do more work.

- Modern men do more than their father and modern women do less than their mother.

- This indicated a generational shift.
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Cultural explanation of inequality: Dunne (1999)
Found that lesbian couples had more symmetrical relationships because of the absence of traditional heterosexual 'gender scripts', that is, norms that set out the different gender roles men and women are expected to play.
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Definition of the material explanation of inequality:
The fact that women earn less than men means it is economically rational for women to do more housework while men earn.
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Material explanation of inequality: Arber and Ginn
Found that better-paid, middle class women were able to buy in commercially produced products and services. Such as labour saving devices, ready meals, domestic help and childcare.
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Material explanation of inequality: Ramos (2003)
Found that where the woman is, the full-time breadwinner and the man is unemployed, he does as much domestic labour as she does.
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Economic explanation of inequality: Michelle Barrett and Mary McIntosh (1991)
- Note that men gain far more from women's domestic work than they give back in financial support.
- The financial support that husbands give to their wives is often unpredictable and comes with 'strings' attached.
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Economic explanation of inequality: Elaine Kempson (1994)
Found that among low income families, women denies their own needs, often going with out, and eating smaller portions of food or skipping meals all together to make sends meat.
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Economic explanation of inequality: The allowance system
Where men give their wives an allowance out of which they have to budget to meet the family's needs, with the man retaining the surplus income for himself.
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- Where both partners have access to income and joint responsibility for expenditure.

- For example, a joint bank account.
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Pooling: Irene Hardill (1997)
Study of 30 dual-career professional couples found that the important decisions were usually taken either by the man alone or jointly and that his career normally took priority when deciding whether to move house for a new job.
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Pooling: Stephen Edgell (1980)
Study of professional couples found that very important decisions such as those involving finance, a change of job or moving house, were either taken by the husband alone or taken jointly but with the husband having the final say.
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Pooling: Laurie and Gershuny (2000)
- Found that by 1995, 70% of couples said they had equal say in decision.

- Significantly, though, they found that women who were high earning, well qualified professionals were more likely to have an equal say.
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Pooling: Pahl
- Notes, just pooling money doesn't necessarily mean there is equality.

- We also need to know who controls the pooled money and whether each partner contributed equally (despite any differences in their incomes).
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Pooling: Cohabiting couples
- Are more likely to pool their money.

- Perhaps from a desire to maintain their independence.
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Pooling: A 'personal life' perspective of money:
Focuses on the meaning couples give to who controls the money. From this perspective, the meaning money may have in relationships cannot be taken for granted. For example. while we might assume that one partner controlling the money is inequality.
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Pooling: Carol Smart (2007)
- Found that same-sex couples often give different meanings to the control of money in the relationship.
- She found that some gay and lesbians attached no importance to who controlled the money and were perfectly happy to leave this to their partners.
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What is the definition of domestic violence:
Physical, psychological, sexual, emotional or financial violence that takes place within an intimate or family-type relationship.
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The Home Office (2013) defines domestic violence and abuse as:
Any incident or pattern of incidents of controlling, coercive or threatening behaviour, violence or abuse between those aged 16 or over who are or have been intimate partners or family members regardless of gender or sexuality.
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Sociologists have: (Domestic)
Challenged the view that domestic violence is that it is the behaviour of a few disturbed or 'sick' individuals.
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Domestic violence is far too widespread:
- To be simply the work of a few disturbed individuals.

- According to the Women's Aid Federation (2014), domestic violence accounts for between a sixth and a quarter of all recorded violent crime.
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The Crime Survey for England and Wales (2013):
- Found that two million people reported having been victims of domestic abuse during the previous year.
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Domestic violence does not occur randomly:
- But follows particular social patterns and these patterns have social causes.

- The most striking of these patterns is that it is mainly violence by men against women.
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Domestic violence: Kathryn Coleman et al (2007)
- Found that women were more likely than men to have experiences 'intimate violence' across all four types of abuse.

- partner abuse, family abuse, sexual assault and stalking.
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Domestic violence: Coleman and Osbourne (2010)
Two women a week, or one third of all female Homocide victims are killed by a partner or former partner.
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Domestic violence: Dobash and Dobash (1979:2007)
- They found that violent incidents could be set off by what a husband saw as a challenge to his authority, such as his wife asking why he was late home for a meal.
- They argue that marriage legitimates violence against women by conferring power.
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Domestic violence: Walby and Allen (2004)
Found that women were much and more likely to be victims of multiple incidents of abuse and of sexual violence.
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Domestic violence: Dar (2013)
Points out that it can also be difficult to count separate domestic violence incidents, because abuse may be continuous (for example, living under constant threat), or may occur so often that the victim cannot reliably count the instances.
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Domestic violence: Official statistics
Underestimate the true extent of the problem of domestic violence.
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Domestic violence: Yearnshire (1997)
-Found that on average a woman suffers 35 assaults before making a report.

- Domestic violence is the violent crime least likely to be reported.
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Domestic violence: Cheal (1991)
- Police and prosecutors may be reluctant to record, investigate or prosecute those cases that are reported to them.
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Domestic violence: The radical feminist explanation
- Relationships are the primary means through which men control women and maintain their power over them in society.

- Rooted in patriarchal traditions that encourage men to believe they are entitled to power and control over their partners.
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Domestic violence: Firestone (1970)
- Argue that all societies have been founded on patriarchy.

- They see the key division in society as that between men and women. Men are the enemy and women: they are the exploiters of women.
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Radical feminists give:
A sociological rather than psychological explanation by linking patterns of domestic violence to dominant social norms about marriage.
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Radical feminism on domestic violence criticism: Elliott (1996)
- Rejects the radical feminist claim that all men benefit from violence against women.

- Not all men are aggressive and most are opposed to domestic violence.
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Radical feminism on domestic violence criticism: Wilkinson and Pickett (2010)
- Wilkinson criticises Feminists by arguing that it is not so much Patriarchy, but poverty that causes stress which leads to DV, so this is much less common in more equal, middle class households.
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Unlike the radical feminist approach:
Wilkinson and Pickett do not explain why women rather than men are the main victims.
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Domestic violence: Marxist Feminists
Also see inequality causing domestic violence.
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Domestic violence: Marxist Feminists - Ansley (1972)
- Describes wives as 'takers of ****'.

- She argues that domestic violence is the product of capitalism: male workers are exploited at work and they take out their frustration on their wives.
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Other cards in this set

Card 2


Expressive Role:


- Geared towards primary socialisation of the children and meeting the family's emotional needs.

-She is the homemaker, a full-time housewife rather than a wage earner.

Card 3


Domestic division of labour:


Preview of the front of card 3

Card 4


Domestic division of labour criticism:


Preview of the front of card 4

Card 5


Domestic division of labour: Young and Wilmott (1973)


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