CONJUGAL ROLESConjugal roles have become moreConjugal roles have become more equalequal in years. (MJ 2002)in recent recent years. (MJ 2002) Sociology, 11th February 2012
CONJUGAL ROLES? Simply means the roles played by a male and female partner in marriage or in a cohabiting relationship. Conjugal roles show few divisions between male and female partner’s roles. There are two types of ‘Conjugal Roles’.
Segregated / Joint roles Separated rolesWhere husbands and wives do not Where husbands and wives share share housework and childcare, housework and childcare, decisions and leisure time. decisions and leisure time.
FUNCTIONALIST VIEW According to the functionalist Talcott Parsons, there are segregated roles in the family because these are ‘natural’. Men have ‘instrumental roles’. Women have ‘expressive roles’. Argues that men and women simply have naturally different roles and that both are needed for the family to run in a smooth fashion.
FEMINIST VIEW• Argues that segregated roles are muchmore widespread than joint roles.• Feminist talk about ‘Triple Shift’ of women, 1. Career. 2. Housework. 3. Emotional works (Support family)• Feminists: • Hannah Garvon. • Ann Oakley. • Stephen Edgell.
Hannah Gavron Describe that women as ‘Captive wives’. Women has high expectation of marriage and freedom, yet were then even more affected by the unequal division of domestic labour. This led to feelings of being ‘Captive’, of marriage feeling like a prison.
Ann Oakley Identified the existence of strong segregated roles. Women tend to do all the housework. She takes a critical stance against the claim made by Young and Willmott (Functionalists). For Young and Willmott, families are becoming increasingly ‘symmetrical’ as time goes on.
Stephen Edgell He studied middle class couples. Found women made decisions over children, food, cleaning and decoration. Men made the serious decisions - car, housing, and buying expensive goods. This study cast doubt on Willmott and Young’s (functionalists) study- where they argued that the family had become more symmetrical (equal).
Conclusion: The overwhelming evidence seems to suggest that families are no longer symmetrical, but that women are working in paid work more than ever before, and that there is increased democracy for women.