Essay on Conjugal Roles

Submitted By SAbdinor582
Words: 3686
Pages: 15

PARSONS (the functionalists)
He defines two roles in a family
The husband is the instrumental role
The wife is the expressive role
The husband provides for the family financially. He is the BREADWINNER
The wife is geared towards the primary socialization of the children and she also meets the families emotional needs. She is a FULL time HOUSEWIFE! The HOMEMAKER
PARSONS argued that this gender division amongst couples is functional for the members of society. He sees this due to biological reasons. 1)Believes that men are born stronger so they should be out being the breadwinner
2)Women are naturally predisposed to being the mother and the career
The NEW RIGHT agree with PARSONS that this biological division is the best way of organizing the family life.
YOUNG and WILLMOT (1962) argue that men are now taking a greater share of domestic tasks and more wives are becoming wage earners
FEMINISTS also argue and REJECT PARSON’S view that the division of labour is natural and believe that it only benefits men.

ELIZABETH BOTT (1957) – she identifies Joint and Segregated conjugal roles.
Joint Conjugal roles – the couples share domestic tasks equally and also spend their leisure time together.
Segregated Conjugal roles – sharp division of labour between the breadwinner and the homemaker. The breadwinner really spends all of his time working and his leisure time is spent with his friends for example at the pub. Whereas the female spend her time at home and spends her leisure time with her family.
MARCH OF PROGRESS sees Conjugal roles as POSITIVE as they couples becoming more equal.

WILLMOTT AND YOUNG – they find segregated conjugal roles in working class families.
1) their study was done in the 1950s which is out of date.
2)they found that men were the breadwinners – men weren’t involved in home life or anything like that
3) found that women were full time housewife’s and mothers.

They take a MARCH OF PROGRESS VIEW as they see the family improving for all the members in the family making it more equal and democratic.
WILLMOTT AND YOUNG (1973) found their was a trend towards joint conjugal roles and the symmetrical family.
1) women got to work
2)men now help with the housework
3)couples spend time together
W&T argue that there has been a long-term trend away from segregated conjugal roles and more toward the joint conjugal roles and the symmetrical family.
W&T say that the rule of symmetrical family is due to major social changes
1) higher living standards
2)new technology – labor saving devices
3)geographical motilities – more couples living away from the community in which they grew up. They are more affluent and socially isolated.
4)changes in married women’s position – married women going work
5) smaller families –less children to look after meaning more time to spend together

They reject the MARCH OF PROGRESS view – they reject the motion of the symmetrical family
1) FEMINISTS say that the family is PATRIARCHAL (male dominated)
2) say that the family is their to benefit men and that women are virtually slaves they believe that women occupy a subordinate and dependent role within the family and in wider society.

ANN OAKLEY(1974) – talks about the housewife and says that the house wife is the PRIMARY ROLE FOR WOMEN. She also said that in the 19th century because of industrilisation women were excluded from the work place.
She also said this because the housewife role is socially constructed – which means women aren’t born naturally careers. It means that because of laws and labor example children are not allowed to work in factories and that children has to stay and do education which were both COMPOLSURY. Some had to stay at home and look after the children and it turned out to be the MOTHERS. As usual.
Therefore society needed women to stay at home and this by the lotion of the housewife has basically merged and it