The Family and the Domestic Division of Labour <br />
Domestic division of labour<br />The Family and the Domestic Division of Labour <br />Key terms and concepts that you will be able to define by the end of this session:<br /><ul><li>Domestic division of labour
Talcott Parsons and his instrumental and expressive roles
Elizabeth Bott and her joint and segregated roles</li></li></ul><li>The domestic division of labour refers to the roles that men and women play in relation to housework, childcare and paid work. Sociologists are interested in whether men and women share domestic tasks equally.<br />Look at the picture on the first slide.<br />What are your opinions on this scene?<br />Is this a fair reflection of family life in Britain?<br />
It appears that housework is a relatively modern invention. In pre-industrial times, household tasks were not clearly distinguished from more general economic tasks, such as working on the farm, tending to the animals, baking<br />and the various<br />activities of cottage<br />industries<br />(Pahl, 1948).<br />
During the Industrial Revolution, men became increasingly identified with the public world of production and wage labour, while women were confined to the private sphere of consumption and the home.<br />What do you think is meant by:<br />the public world of production<br />and <br />the private sphere of consumption?<br />
In the traditional nuclear family…<br />The husband has an instrumental role!<br />The women has an expressive role!<br />Talcott Parsons (1955)<br />
‘Home-maker’</li></li></ul><li>Parsons argues that this division of labour is based on biological differences, with women ‘naturally’ suited to the nurturing role. He claims that the division of labour is beneficial to both men and women.<br />What benefits do you think Parsons imagines with this view?<br />Can you think of any criticisms of this approach?<br />Use the pictures on the next slide to help.<br />
Elizabeth Bott (1957)<br />Segregated conjugal roles – where the couple have separate roles: a male breadwinner and a female homemaker/carer (as in Parsons’ roles). Their leisure activities also tend to be separate.<br />Joint conjugal roles – where the couple share tasks such as housework and childcare and spend their leisure time together.<br />
Another view ….. Domestic labour serves the needs of the capitalist economy<br />Marxist-feminists argue that housewives by cooking, washing her husband’s clothes and even sleeping with him makes her partner into a more productive worker. <br />In addition, by producing <br />and rearing children, at no <br />cost to employers, <br />housewives play a vital <br />part in the reproduction <br />of labour.<br />
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