Social Role Theory

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Social Role Theory

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Social Role Theory (Eagly & Wood)

> EAGLY AND WOOD came up with Social role theory.

> This theory is a biosocial one but isn't linked to Money and Ehrhardt's, although they do have similarities.

> Eagly and Wood argue that the evolutionary explanation of gender development isn't fully correct.

> Eagly & Wood suggest that selective pressure don't cause both physical & psychological differences; they only cause physical differences which lead to sex role allocations which then create psychological sex differences.

> Psychological sex differences are seen as the consequence of the different roles men and women are assigned rather than vice versa - the evolutionary view suggests that social roles grow out of biologically determined psychological differences.

> E theory =selective pressures meant men took the role of hunter & women became homemaker - SR theory = evolved physical differences (men = stronger, women = bear children) mean men are assigned hunter, which creates psychological differences.

Division of labour -

> Social role theory argues that the biologically-based physical differences between men and women allow them to perform certain tasks more efficiently.

> Childbearing & nursing of infants mean that women are well placed to care for young children but are less able to take on roles which require long periods of time away from home such as hunting.

> Men's greater speed & upper-body strength facilitate their efficient performance of tasks that require intensive bursts of energy & strength.

> In societies where strength isn't required for occupational roles outside the home and/or societies where there's alternative childcare, social roles will be more similar between men & women, & psychological differences reduced.

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