Roles and Power relationships between couples.

Revision Notes on:

  • Domestic Division of Labour
  • Non Symmetrical Family - Functionalist
  • Symmetrical Family - Functionalist
  • Non Symmetrical Family - Feminists
  • Financial Resources
  • Decision Making
  • Domestic Violence - Statistical Evidence
  • Domestic Violence - Radical Feminism
  • Domestic Violence - Marxist Feminists
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  • Created by: Mel
  • Created on: 22-05-10 21:03
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Roles & Power relationships
between couples ­ LT2
Domestic Division of Labour ­ gender roles that men and women
play in relation to housework, childcare and paid work.
Non Symmetrical Family
Functionalism - Parsons
- Segregated conjugal roles in traditional nuclear families.
o Expressive role ­ Women act as homemakers and carers.
o Instrumental role ­ Men go out to work and act as the financial
Reasons for segregated conjugal roles in nuclear families.
Biologial differences ­ Parsons claims women are ,,naturally suited to a nurturing role
and men as the provider.
Outdated view ­ ,,new men are taking a greater share of domestic tasks and
many women are financial providers.
Symmetrical Family
Young and Willmott ­ move towards a symmetical family (joint conjungal roles) ­
roles of husbands and wifes shared or similar.
o Women - Work part or fulltime
o Men ­ help with housework and childcare.
o Couples spend leisure time together.
o "Privatised" .....
- Spend lots of time at home.
- Child centrered
- Small and increasingly affluent.

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Reasons for the symmetrical family
- Greater affluence ­ making the home more attractive to men.
- Geographical mobility ­ less help from nearby family members.
Sullivan ­ increase in the number of couples with an equal division of labour. Men
participating more in traditional "womens tasks" = new men.
Reasons for symmetry
o Increase in the number of women working ­ need to share more,
more money can be spent in buying in help.…read more

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Evaluation of research and theories into the symmetrical family/domestic
division of labour.
Ignore important variations in the division of labour.
o Social Class ­ middle class women do less house work and chilcare.
They can afford to buy into the commerccialisation of housework and
day care for children unlike working class families.
o Sexuality ­ lesiban couples tend to have more symmetry in their
relationships. Housework and childcare is often shared or open for
discussion and negotiation; equal importance attached to both partners
careers.…read more

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Domestic Violence ­ Physical, sexual and psychological abuse
between those in a family-type relationship.
Statistical Evidence
6.6m domestic assaults happen each year, half involving physical injury.
Most victims are women (but also common amongst children and the elderly).
1 in 4 women assaulted by their partners.
Most victims are working class, live in rented accomodation and are poor.
Problems with Statistics ­ underestimate the size of the problem.
Victims unwilling to report- fear of reprisals.…read more

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Marxist ­ Feminists
Domestic violence an outlet of mens frustration with the exploitation and alienation
they experience in the workplace.
Economically Deterministic - simplifies domestic violence to the economy.…read more


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