Unit 1 Sociology Revision Notes

Topics: Domestic violence, Gender role, Sociology Pages: 32 (11742 words) Published: September 10, 2013
Unit 1 Sociology Revision Notes


The domestic division of labour
The domestic division of labour refers to the roles that men and women play in the relation to housework, childcare and paid work

Parsons: instrumental and expressive roles
* in the traditional nuclear family the roles of husbands and wives are segregated Parsons (1995) identified the clear division of labour between spouses: * Husbands played an instrumental role, being the breadwinner and achieving well in work in order to provide economical support for his family whereas the wife had an expressive role which was to be a housewife and provide primary socialisation for the children and meeting the emotional needs of the family * Parson argues that the division of labour happens due to biological differences that women are naturally suited for the nurturing role and men are normally suited to be a provider * Parson thinks that this division of labour is suited for both men and women, to their children and generally wider society. The New Right agree with this theory * Young and Willmott (1962) argue that husbands are becoming a new man and doing more domestic tasks plus more wives are becoming career women, earning a wage which helps to economically support the family * Feminists rejects Parsons’ view as they feel it only benefits men and the division of labour is not natural

Joint and segregated conjugal roles
Bott (1957) distinguishes between two types of conjugal roles within marriage: * Segregated conjugal roles are when the man is the breadwinner and the wife is the homemaker but their leisure activities also tend to be separate. Similar to Parson’s theory * Joint conjugal roles where the couples share tasks such as housework and childcare also spending their leisure time together Young and Willmott identify a pattern of segregated families in a traditional working class extended family in Bethnal Green, east London in the 50’s: * Men were the breadwinners, mostly working in the docks

* They played a little part in home life and spent their leisure time with colleagues at the pub and working men’s club * Women were full time housewives with responsibility for housework and childcare with the help from female relatives * The limited leisure that women had was spent with female kin

The symmetrical family
* Young and Willmott (1973) take a march of progress view towards the history of the family. They see that family life is improving for all its members gradually becoming more equal and democratic * They argue that there has been a long term trend away from segregated conjugal role and it’s going towards the symmetrical family where roles are more similar not yet identical This is because:

* Women now go out to work, although this may be part time rather than full time * Men now help out with housework and childcare
* Couples now spend their leisure time together instead of separately, they become more home centred and privatised Young and Wilmott found that symmetrical families were common in younger couples, those who are geographically and socially isolated and those who were more affluent. E.g. the young couples who moved away from Bethnal Green and were living at a distance from the extended families and workmates were more likely to have a symmetrical relationship. Young and Willmott see the rise in symmetrical nuclear families due to major changes in society: * Changes in women’s position like married women going out * Geographical mobility- more couples living away from the communities they grew up in * New technology and labour saving devices

* Higher standards of living
Many of these factors are interlinked if women go out to work it brings in a second wage this therefore raises the family’s standards of living. This enables the couples to make the home more...
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