Sociology

Couples- the domestic division of labour.

What is the division of labour between husbands and wives according to Parsons?

The husband has an instrumental role, and is geared towards achiveing success at work so he cna provide for his fmaily finacially, he is known as the breadwinner. Where as the wife has the expressive role and is geared towards the primary socialisation of the children and meeting the emtoional needs of the fmaily, she is known as the homemaker.

What does Parsons argue the division of labour is based on, and is it beneficial?

He argues that it is based on biological differences, with women naturally suited to the nurturing role and men to that of the provider. He argues it is beneficial to both men and women, to their children and to wider society. 

How can Parsons view of the division of labour be criticised?

Young and Willmott argue that men now take a greater share of domestic tasks and women become wage earners. Feminist sociologists reject the view that the DOL is natural and argue it benefits men. 

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What are the 2 types of conjugal roles Bott distinguishes between?

  • Segregated conjugal roles- where the couple have seperate roles- a male breadwinner and female homemaker, lesiure activities also tend to be seperate.
  • Joint conjugal roles- where couples share tasks such as housework and childcare, and spend leisure time together.

What is the symmetrical family as described by Young and Willmott and what type of couples is it more common among?

The symmetrical family is one in which the roles of husbands and wives are noe much more similar:

  • Women now go out to work, this is mostly part-time.
  • Men now help with housewotk and chilcare.
  • Couples now spend leisure time together instead of seperatley with workmates or relatives.

It is more common among younger couples, those who are geographically and socially isolated and affluent. 

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Whar major social changes have taken place to see a rise i the symmetrical family?

  • Changes in womens position- including married women going out to work.
  • Geographical mobility- more couples living away from the communities they grew up in.
  • New technology- labour saving devices.
  • Higher standards of living.

Why do feminists reject this march of progress view that Young and Willmott hold?

Feminists argue that little has changed- men and women remian unequal within the fmaily and women still d most of the housework. They see this inequality as stemming from the fact that the family and society are patriarchal, and the fact that women occupy a subordinate and dependent role within the family.

 

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How does Oakley criticse Young and Willmotts view of the nuclear family?

She argues that Young and Willmotts claims are exaggerated, for example although the men they interviewed helped their wives once a week this often included the smiple task of taking the children for a walk, which is hardly evidence of symmetry. In her own research of housewives, she found some evidence of husbands helping in the home but no evidence towards symmetry. Ony 15% had a high level of particiapton in housework and 25% in childcare. 

How did Boulton's research support Oakleys findings?

Boulton fond that fewer than 2% of husbands had a major role in childcare. She argues that Young and Willmott exaggerate mens contribution by looking at the tasks involved in childcare rather than the responsibilities. Fathers may help with specific tasks, but the mother was almost always responsible for the childs security and well-being.

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What is the march of progress view?

An optimistic view some sociologists take. Wheree it is argued that women going out to work is leading to a more equal division of labour at home. In this view men are beocming more involved in housework and childcare and women are becoming more involved in paidwork outside the home.

What does Gershuny argue?

He argues that women working full-time is leading to a more equal division of labour in the home. Using time studies he found that these women did less domestic work than other women.

What did Sulivan's analysis of data show?

Found a trend towards women doing a smaller share of domestic work and men doing more. Her analysis also showed an increase in the number of couples with an equal division of labout and men were participating more in traditional 'women's' tasks.

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In the view of feminist sociologists what has women going into paid work resulted in?

It has not led to a greater equality in the division of domestic labour, and there is still little sign of the new man- who does an equal share of housework and childcare, while women now carry a dual burden.

How does the British social attitudes survey support this feminist view?

The survey found that in 2012 on average men did 8 hours of housework per week, where as women did 13 hours. Similary, men speny 10 hours on care for family meembers and women spent 23 hours. Overall, therefore women did twice as much as men. 60% of women felt that this division of labour was unjust as they were doing far more than their fair share. 

How is Boultons view supported?

It is supported my Ferri and Smith who found that fathers took responsiblity for chilcare in fewer than 4% of families.

Dex and Ward found that altthough fathers had high levels of involveement for their 3 year old, when it came to caring for a sick child only 1% took responsibility.

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What is emotion work performed by women according to Hochschild?

Women are often required to perform emotion work, where they are responsible foor managing the emotions and feelings of family memebrs such as squabbles and jealousies and ensuring everyone is kept happy and so on, but also exercising control over their own emotions.

What is the triple shift described by Duncombe and Marsden?

Women perform the triple shift of paid work, housework and emotion work.

Why has managing the quality time of the family become more difficult?

Due to social changes, such as the emergence of the 24/7 society and flexible workinf patterns, which has led to peoples time becoing more fragmented and de-rountinised. Working mothers, also have to manage the demnads of work, personal leisure time and family,while managing fmaily leisure activities which makes it more difficult. Men and womens unequal lesiure time means women also have interupted lesiure time due to chilcare, this shows the dual-burden women have to take on, meaning they have even less time.

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What are the 2 explanations for the unequal division of labour indentifies by Crompton and Lyonette?

  • The cultural or ideological explanation of inequality- in this view the DOL is determined by patriarchal norms and vlaues that shape gender roles in our culture. Women perform more domestic abour as it is what society expects of them and has socilased them to do.
  • The material or economic explanation of inequality- in this view, the fact that women generally earn les thhan men means it is economically rational for women to do more housework and childcare, while men spend more time earning money.

What evidence is there to support the cultural expanation of inequality?

  • Gershuny- found couples whose parents had a more  equal relationsip were more likley to sahre housework equally between themselves, showing that parental role models were important.
  • Man Yee kan- found younger men do more domestic work. According to the futrue foundation most men claimed to do more housework than their father, and most women claimed to do less than their mother. This suggests a generational shift in behaviour
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What evidence is there for the material expanation of inequality?

  • Kan- found that for every £10,000 a year more a woman earns, she does 2 hours less houswork per week.
  • Arber and Ginn- found that better paid middle class women were able to buy in comercially produced products and services, such as labour-saving devices, ready meals, domestic healp and childcare, rather than spending time on the labour-intenstive tasks themselves. 
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Couples- resources and decision-making in househol

What are the 2 types of control over family income Pahl and Vogler identify?

  • The allowance system- where men give their wives an aownac ouut of which they have to budget to meet the families needs, with men retaining excess incme for himself.
  • Pooling- Where both partners have access to income and joint repsonsibility for expenditure e.g a joint bank account.

What did Edgell's study of professional coupes find about decision making and why do couples make different decisions?

  • Very important decisisons- such as thos involving finance, a change of job or moving house, were either taken by the husband alone or taken jointly with the husbands final say.
  • Important decisisons- such as those aboue childrens education and where to go on holiday, were taken jointly or by the wife alone.
  • Less important decisions- such as choice of home decor, childrens clothes and fod purchases were made by the wife alone.

Men are likely ro make important decisisons as they earn more, and as women are economically dependent they have less say in decisions. 

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What did Laurie and Gershuny find about financial decision-making?

Founnd evidence of a move towards greater equality in decision making- 70% of couples said they had an equal say in financial decsions. These findings provide support for the economic or material explanation of gender inequality.

What do feminsits argue about inequalities in decision-making?

They are not simply a resut of inequalities in earnings. They argue that in patriarchal society, the cultural defintion of men as decision-makers id deeply ingrained in both men and women and instilled through gender role socialisation. Uuntil this defintion is challenged, decision-making is likely to remain unequal.

What does the personal life perspective on money focus on?

It focuses on the meanings couples give to who controls the money.

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What did Smart find about the meaning same-sex couples give to money?

She found that some gay men and lesbians attached no importance to who controlled the moneu and were perfectly happy to leave this to their partners. They did not see the control of money as meaning wither equlaity or inequality in a relationship.

What did weeks et al find about the typical pattern given to money?

They found that the typical pattern was pooling some money for household spending, together with seperate accounts for personal spending. This reflects a value of co-independence, where there is sharing, but where each partner retains control over some money and maintains and sense of independence. 

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What does the home office denfine domestic violence as?

Any incident or pattern of incidents of controlling, coercive or threatening behaviour, violence or abuse betweem those aged 16 or over who are or have been intimate partners ot fmaily members regardless of gender or sexuality.

How have sociologists challenged the view that domestic violence is the behaviour of a few sick individuals?

  • Domestic abuse is far too widespread- to simply be the act of a few sick individuals. According to the womens aid federation domestic violence accounts for 1/4 of all recorded violent crime.
  •  Domsetic violenc does not occur randomly- but instead follows particular social patterns and these patterns have social causes- it is maily violence by men against women. Coleman et al found that women were more likely to have recieved intimate violence across all 4 types of abuse- including family abuse, sexual assult, partner abuse and stalking. 
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What did Dobash and Dobash find about domestic violence?

Dobash and Dobash's resaerch is based on police court recodrs and interivews with women in women refuges. They cite examples of wives being slapped, pushed about, beaten, ***** and killed by their husbands.They found that these violent incidents could be set off by what a husband saw as a challenge to his authority, such as a wife asking why he was late home for a meal. They argue that marriage legitimises violence against women by conferring power and authority husbands and dependency on wives. 

What did the crime suurvey report about the gender gap between men and women in domestic violence?

7.3% of women compared with 5% oc men reported having experienced domestic abuse in the previous year. 

What studies showed a more significant gender gap?

Walby and Allen found women were more likley to be victims of multiple incidents of abuse.

Ansara and Hindin found women suffered more servere violence & control, with more serious psychological effects- women were much more likley to be fearful of their partners.

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What do official statistics on domestic violence understate the true extent of the problem?

Firstly, victims may be unwilling to report it to the police. For example, Yearrmshire found on average a woman suffers 35 assults before making a report. Dar argues that victims of domestic abuse are less likel than other forms of violence ro report the offence becase they believe it is not a matter for the police or it is too trivial.

Secondly, police and prosecuters may be reluctant to record, investigate or prosecuute those cases that are reported to them. Cheal argues this reluctance is due to the fact that the police and other state agencies are not pepared to become involved in the family. As they make 3 assumptions of family life:

  • that the family is a private sphere, so access to it state agencies should be limited. 
  • that the family is a good thing and so agencies tend to neglect the darker side of family life.
  • Individuals are free agents, so it is assumed that if a women if experiencing abuse she is free to leave.
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What is the radicial feminist explanation of domestic violence?

Radical feminists interpret findings such as those of Dobash and Dobash as evidence of patriarchy. They see the key division in society as between men and women, and men as the enemy and as opressors of women. They see the family and marriage as the key institutios in patriarchal society and the main source of womens opression, within the family men dominate women through domestic violence or the threat of it. For radical feminists, domestic violence is widespread and an inevitbale feature of patriarchal society and serves to perserve the power men have over women.This exaplins why  most domestic violence is commited by men, and the male domination of state insttitutions helps to explain the reluctance of the police and courts to deal with cases of domestic violence effectively. 

How is this view critcised?

Elliot rejects the claim that men benefit from violence against women. Not all men are agressive and most are opposed to domestic violence, but radical feminists ignore this. They also fail to explain female violence, including child abuse by women and violence agaisnt male partners and within lesbian relationships. 

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Which social groups face a greater risk of domestic violence?

  • Young women
  • Those in the lowest social classes and those living in deprived areas.
  • Those on low incomes or in financial difficulties.
  • Those living in shared and rented accomidation.
  • Those with high levels of alcohol consumption of using illegal drugs.
  • Those with a long term illness or disability.

What is the materialist explaination of domestic violence?

It focuses on the economib and materail factors such as inequalities in income and housng to explain why some groups are more at risk than others. E.g. Wilkinson an Pickett see domestic violence as the result of stress on family memebrs caused me social inequality. Inequality means some families have fewer resources than others, those on low incomes or living in overcrowded accomidation are likkely to experience higher levels of stress. This reduces their chances of maintainig stable, caring relationships annd increases the risk of conflict and violence. For exampe worries about money, jobs and hosuing may spill over into domestic coflict.

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How can the materialitst explanation be criticised?

Wilkinson and Pickett do not expalin why women rather than men are the main victims of domestic violence.

How do marxist feminists see inequuality as causing domestic violence?

Ansley describes wives as takers of ****. She argues that domestic violence is the product of capitalism: male workers are exploited at work and they take out their frustration on their wives. Which explains why domestic violence is male violence against females.

How can the marxist feminist approach be criticised?

It fails to explain why not all male workers commit acts of violence against their partners and iit does nt acoount for the cases of female domestic violence against men.

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