The Symmetrical Family

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Conjugal Roles within the family, are they Symmetrical
This essay aims to examine whether the conjugal roles within the western family have become more symmetrical. The essay will be mainly based on the opinions of Young and Willmott however it will be heavily critiqued by Ann Oakley –radical feminist. The definition of the family is a group of people who are related by kinship: Kinship refers to the relations of blood, marriage/civil partnership or adoption (Browne 2011 p 85). Before the industrial revolution families tended to stay together and they were known as a unit of production working together in rural villages farming the land or within the textile trade. However due to the industrial revolution there was a greater need to find work, which would require relocating the family into the cities to find work in the factories, this move broke families up and created what was known as the nuclear family. The typical nuclear family structure was made up of the mother, father and dependent children. This size family was easy to move when new job opportunities arose. Young and Willmott studied the symmetrical family in 1974, the study carried out was to see if the traditional roles of the household had changed for example was it solely the mother’s job to look after the children and tend to the house whilst the father went out to work. Young and Wilmot studied families within London and discovered the traditional conjugal roles have changed somewhat for the better, as husbands and fathers are beginning to help out more within the home. Young and Willmott stated that there was three main stages in the development of the family with a possibility of there being a fourth stage. The four stages starting with stage one the pre-industrial family as described previously the family work as a unit of production. However during the early 19th century at the beginning of the industrial revolution the family ceased to be a unit of production and began to become more of a...
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