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Flashcards in Couples Deck (48)
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Give two examples of patriarchy in the Victorian family.

- Grounds for divorce were very unequal: a man could gain a divorce on the grounds of his wife's adultery, but a woman had to prove her husband's adultery or another matrimonial offense in addition to adultery.

- On marrying, a woman's property became her husbands.


Define the instrumental role.

The husband has an instrumental role, geared towards achieving success at work so that he can provide for the family. He is the breadwinner.


Define the expressive role.

The wife has an expressive role, geared towards primary socialisation of the children and meeting the families emotional needs. She is the homemaker, a full-time housewife rather than a wage earner.


According to Parsons, what is the difference between the instrumental and expressive role based on?

Biological differences. Women are 'naturally' suited to the nurturing role and men to that of the provider.


Which other perspective would share Parsons' view of expressive and instrumental roles?

The New Right.


Give two criticisms of Parsons.

- Young and Willmott (1962) argue that men are now taking a greater share of domestic tasks and more wives are becoming wage earners.

- Feminist sociologists reject Parsons' view that the division of labour is natural. In addition, they argue that it only benefits men.


Define a segregated conjugal role.

Where the couple have separate roles: a male breadwinner and a female homemaker/carer, as in Parsons' instrumental and expressive roles. Their leisure activities also tend to be separate.


Define a joint conjugal role.

Where the couple shares tasks such as housework and childcare and spends their leisure time together.


According to Young and Willmott, which social class is more likely to have segregated conjugal roles?

Traditional working class extended families.


Explain what is meant by the 'march of progress' view.

Young and Willmott see family life as improving for all its members, becoming more equal and democratic.


Give three characteristics of a symmetrical family.

- Women now go out to work, although this may be part-time rather than full-time.

- Men now help out with housework and childcare.

- Couples now spend their leisure time together instead of separately with workmates or female relatives.


According to Young and Willmott, which couples are most likely to be symmetrical?

Younger couples.


Identify four social changes that have encouraged the rise of the symmetrical family.

- Changes in women's position, including married women going out to work.

- Geographical mobility (more couples living away from the communities in which they grew up).

- New technology and labour saving devices.

- Higher standards of living


Why do feminists reject the 'march of progress' view?

They argue that little has changed: men and women remain unequal within the family and women still do most of the housework. They see this inequality as stemming from the fact that family and society are male-dominated or patriarchal.


How does Oakley criticise Young and Willmott?

She argues that their claims are exaggerated.
Social desirability: People may claim to help out more than they do.


Briefly outline Oakley's findings on men's involvement in housework and childcare.

Only 15% of husbands had a high level of participation in housework, and only 25% had a high level of participation in childcare.


What did Boulton find in relation to men's involvement in childcare?

Fewer than 20% of husbands had a major role in childcare. Men tend to look at tasks, not responsibilities (men take on the 'less important' tasks).


Give two examples of sex-typing of tasks.

- Wives were 30 times more likely to be the last person to have done the washing.

- Husbands were 4 times more likely to be the last person to wash the car.


According to Boulton, women take responsibility for children's security and well-being. How is this view supported by Ferri and Smith?

Ferri and Smith (1996) found that fathers took responsibility for childcare in fewer than 4% of families.


According to Boulton, women take responsibility for children's security and well-being. How is this view supported by Dex and Ward?

Dex and Ward (2007) found that although fathers had quite high levels of involvement with their three-year-olds (e.g 78% played with their children) when it came to caring for a sick child only 1% of fathers took the main responsibility.


According to Boulton, women take responsibility for children's security and well-being. How is this view supported by Braun, Vincent and Ball?

- Only 3/70 families studied was the father the main carer.
- Most were 'background fathers' (helping w/ childcare was more about their relationship with their partner than responsibility towards their children)
- Most fathers: 'provider ideology' (breadwinners)
- Mothers: primary carers
- 'Intensive mothering' (idea promoted by media)


Define 'emotion work'.

Where someone (usually women) is responsible for managing the emotions and feelings of family members. While at the same time, exercising control over their own emotions.


What three activities make up the 'triple shift'.

- Housework

- Paid work

- Emotion work


According to Southerton, why do mothers today face greater difficulties in trying to organise quality time?

"Achieving quality time is becoming more and more difficult as working mothers find themselves increasingly juggling the demands of work and career, personal leisure time and family, while at the same time managing and coordinating their own and their families' social activities."


How do men's and women's leisure time differ?

Men are more likely to have consolidated 'blocks' of uninterrupted leisure time, whereas women's leisure is often punctuated by childcare.


Summarise the cultural or ideological explanation for the unequal division of labour.

- Determined by patriarchal norms and values that shape the gender roles in our culture.

- Women perform more domestic labour simply because that is what society expects them to do and has socialised them to do.


Summarise the material or economic explanation for the unequal division of labour.

The fact that women generally earn less than men means it is economically rational for women to do more of the housework and childcare while men spend more of their time earning money.


What were Dunne's two findings about lesbian couples?

- Roles are equal or negotiated based on need.

- Both partners jobs are viewed as equally important.


How does Dunne explain the difference between lesbian and heterosexual couples?

'Gender scripts' are less important in same sex couples.


Which perspective would support Dunne's explanation of couples?

Radical feminism: 'Political lesbianism'.