Revision Timed Essay – Conjugal Roles

Timed essay on conjugal roles for AS Sociology

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  • Created on: 25-03-08 16:29
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Revision timed Essay ­ Conjugal Roles
Roles Becoming Equal
Willmott and Young ­ The Symmetrical Family
They argue that the significant change is a result of the breakdown of the
extended family.
Family Structure Extended Nuclear
Work Roles Segregated Symmetrical
Division of Domestic Clearly divided Greater equality of
Tasks according to gender contribution
Leisure Activities Men in Public Sphere Leisure is now more
Women in Private family and home
Sphere centred
The change in gender roles started with the middle classes and spread to the
working classes ­ stratified diffusion
Jonathan Gershuny
His study of changes in the division of domestic labour supports Young and
Willmott theory of a symmetrical family.
Gershuny studied men and women's roles through detailed dairies kept by
the participants on a daytoday and weekly basis.
He found that there was a clear trend towards men carrying out more
domestic activities than in previous years.
However when women total their working hours, including domestic activities,
it still worked out to be greater than the number of hours men did. Therefore
undermining the notion that there has been a significant shift towards equality
between men and women.
He found that fathers are taking an increasingly active role in the emotional
development of their children. One reason for this was argue by Beck.
Notes that in the postmodern age, fathers can no longer rely on jobs to
provide a sense of identity and fulfilment, so they look to their children to give
them a sense of identity and purpose.
However he does state that it is important not to exaggerate their role in

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Stephen Edgell
Edgell's study cast doubt and supports criticisms of Young and Willmott's
idea that it was the middle class couples who are responsible for the changes.
Edgell studied middle class couples he interviewed both husbands and wives
from a sample of 38 professional couples.
Edgell asked them about who made decisions and took into account how
frequently they were made and their importance.
He found that women controlled decisionmaking in a number of areas, e.g.…read more

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Triple Shift ­ Duncombe and Marsden
Women are responsible for domestic labour and emotional labour as well as
their economic / paid work.
Duncombe and Marsden
Duncombe and Marsden studied the emotional side of marriages.
According to many women it is them and not their husbands that that are
responsible for the emotional work.
A study based on interviews with 40 couples found that most of the women
complained of men's emotional distance, their partners had problems
expressing intimate emotions.…read more


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