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Talcott Parsons (1955)
Instrumental and expressive roles
· In the traditional nuclear family, the roles of husband and
wife and segregated
· The husband has an instrumental role:
Achieving success at work
Providing for the family financially
· The wife has an expressive role:
Primary socialisation of the children
Meeting the families emotional needs
Full-time housewife rather than a wage earner…read more

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Elizabeth Bott (1957)
Distinguishes between two types of conjugal roles
· Segregated conjugal roles:
The couple have separate roles
Male breadwinner
Female homemaker
Leisure activities tend to be separate
· Joint conjugal roles:
Couple share tasks
E.g. housework and childcare and spend their leisure time
together…read more

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Young and Willmott (1973)
· Symmetrical family
· `March of Progress' view
· Family life gradually improving for all its members: more
equal and democratic
· Long-term trend away from segregated conjugal roles and
towards joint conjugal roles and the `symmetrical family':
Women now go out to work
Men now help with housework and childcare
Couples now spend their leisure time together instead of
separately with workmates
More home-centred or `privatised'…read more

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Ann Oakley (1974)
· Argues that Young and Willmott's claim of increasing
symmetry is based on inadequate methodology
· Their conclusions were based on only one interview
· Worded in a way that could exaggerate the amount of
housework done by men
· Small-scale research in the 1970s by Oakley (1974) and
Edgell (1980) found little sharing of household tasks…read more

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Edgell (1980)
Decision Making
· Interviewed husbands and wives about decision making
· Found that women tended to dominate in areas such as
domestic spending and children's clothes
· Men dominated in areas that were considered more
important, such as moving house and overall finance
· These are also considered to be infrequent decisions…read more

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