Families and Households

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  • Created by: Iqra
  • Created on: 24-12-12 14:51


Parsons - 2 conjugal roles ; 1 { Male - Instrumental} 2 {Female- Expressive}. Argued that division of labour was functional for the family, its members and the wider society. He also argued that this idea was biologically based, an idea which is supported by New right who argue that this is the best way to organise a family. 

Bott- It is becoming more equal now and identified 2 types. The first segregated { sharp difference between male and female roles, and husband and wife will spend leisure time seperately}. The second joint { couples shared chores and spent leisure time together}

Young and Wilmott - Found segregated conjugal roles in 1950's Bethnal Green. Males were breadwinners and females spent most time at home and with relatives.

They later went bacck and found that things had changed and had become more equal. More women were working and there was a new man, this could be for many reasons including higher living standards, labour saving devices, better housing, women working and smaller familes. This argument was criticised by feminists who rejected the 'march in progress' view and instead claimed that the family remained patriarchal with the female doing childcare and housework. 

Oakley - Housewife is the primary role due to industrialisation confining women into the home and the housewife role is socially constructed. She found no evidence of symmetrical family and that Y+W exaggerate {Iron shirts}.

Boulton - Need to look at who is responsible for these tasks, women and childcare. Men {Less than 1 in 5 took a major part in childcare}

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Impact of Working Women

Gershuny [Lagged Adaptation] 27%/ couples are gradually adapting to women working. DIY

Commercialisation of housework - Ready made meals, nurseries reduce the amount od domestic labour needed. Schor - death of the housewife role' for the better.

The Dual burden - Feminists - paid work plus domestic work and men benefit from this. Ferri & Smith - 47% fathers. Morris - Males suffered crisis of masculinity when unemployed and therefore did not accept the domestic role. Duncombe and Marsden - triple shift ( emotional work)

Same sex couples - RF - Dunne - 37 lesbians had more equal division of labour, due to gender scripts. Straight - socialised into gender scripts whereas Lesbians are open to negotiations. 

Resources and decision making - Kempson - Lower income families women denied themselves in order to make ends meet. Even in adequate families, unequal resources distribution, women are therefore left in poverty. Males control money and how it is spent. 

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Decision making and paid work

Males earn more and therefore take greater share of resources. Pahl and Vogler 2 types of family income controls : 1 { Allowance - W males give NW wives an allowance to budget family needs} 2. {Pooling - both partners work and joint responsibility ie joint bank account} Although there has been an increase in pooling, men still dominate major decisions due to increase in pay. 

Professional couples - Edgell found very important decsions[moving house]the husband made the final choice. Important decisions were made together and the less important decisions[dinner] were made by women. 

Explanations for this could be economic[ men earn more money and therefore they have more power, women may also be dependent]. Patriarchal socialisation[ fem argue that gender role socialisation instils men as decision makers. 

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Domestic violence and inequality

Women/children/young people/the poor/illegal and alcohol users are all in danger. Wilkinson - patterns in inequalities. Families that lack resources suffer more stress and therefore this increases the risk of violence 

British crime survey- 6.6 million assualts each year, mostly men against women. Nearly 1 in 4 women are assaulted by her partner at some time. 

Under reporting - crime least likely to be reported. 1/3 of assaults are reported. Yearnshire - 35 assaults before reporting to the police the abuse. 

Under reporting - Police are unwilling to record, investigate, prosecute domestic violence due to them being relunctant to get involved in the 'private sphere' of the family. Believe that women can leave if they are unhappy, they may be financially dependant on them. 

Rad Fem - Result of patriarchy in all societies causing division between men and women. 

Men mainly oppress women through the family. DV is control device which is inevitable. Men also dominate the state and this is why courts and police fail to take it seriously. 

Dobash and Dobash - Violence is triggered when husbands feel authority is being threatened and marriage provides men with power. 

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