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Flashcards in Couples Deck (37)
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Explain conjugal roles in the family.

Conjugal roles are domestic tasks that partners are responsible for in a relationship.

Joint conjugal roles- If the partners in a relationship share tasks equally amongst themselves and both contribute to domestic work then they are said to have joint conjugal roles.

Segregated conjugal roles- If the partners in a relationship do not share tasks equally and only one partner is responsible for domestic work then they are said to have segregated conjugal roles.


Explain the March of Progress view of Young and Wilmott in relation to couples becoming more equal.

Wilmott and Young (1973) proposed that families are becoming more equal due to wider economic and social changes.

They break social changes down into three stages:

stage 1: The pre-industrial family where the family works as a unit of economic production and live close to other families (extended family).

stage 2: The early industrial family where families move into towns and city and men go out to work while women perform a domestic role. Women are reliant on support from other female relatives- women bonded while men were excluded and spent time in the pub instead.

stage 3: the symmetrical family


Describe the characteristics of Wilmott and Young's symmetrical family.

Both partners in paid work, making a joint contribution to the family income and bills.

Housework and childcare fairly distributed

Shared decision making

Smaller families- children are dependents rather than economic assets

isolated from extended family: spend leisure time with each other


Explain Ann Oakley's research into the domestic work of women.

Oakley (1974) conducted research into the situation of housewives and patterns of dissatisfaction amongst them, hoping to prove that housework was not a natural extension of a woman's role in a family but rather socially constructed.

She conducted 40 in-depth interviews with housewives from London. The sample was drawn from medical records from 2 different areas of London; a working class area and a middle class area. All participants were between 20 and 30 years old and had at least one child under the age of 5.

Oakley found that monotony is associated with work dissatisfaction. 80 % of women who reported experiencing monotony were also dissatisfied with housework as compared to 40 percent of those who did not report experiencing monotony. One participant drew a comparison between factory work and housework.

Oakley concluded that the monotony of housework can be compared to the monotony experienced by assembly line workers as they shared the same frustrations. Her results and findings suggest there is a fundamental separation as the role of housework and tending to children is still primarily a women's job.


Evaluate the research of Ann Oakley

(+) good sample size for such a specific piece of research

(+) produces both qualitative and quantitative data

(-) All participants were quite young so the sample does not represent women of all ages, and the participants were likely to have been quite new to the role of being a housewife and might have still been trying to get used to it.

(-) Oakley finds a correlation between dissatisfaction and monotony however she cannot prove causation.

(-) Oakley's research might be outdated as it was conducted at a time when sexism was prevalent. We need more contemporary research in order for it to be applicable to today's society.


What do recent statistics about unpaid domestic work show?

The ONS published a report in 2015 about the hours of unpaid work partners in a couple do per week.

Other than transport, women do more unpaid hours of work in every category that was investigated.

Women spend just under twice as many unpaid hours cooking than men do

Women do more than twice as many unpaid hours of childcare than men.

Statisticians suggest that this data is vulnerable to social desirability bias as it is dependent on self report and also that men might be overestimating how many hours of unpaid domestic labour they do a week.


Define the term 'dual burden'.

This refers to how women are working a double shift through taking the unpaid responsibility of domestic work as well as working outside of the home at a job. It questions the idea that women should be involved in the work place as it often means women end up doing twice as much work.


Define the term 'lagged adaptation',

This was proposed by Gershuny (2008) and suggests that although people are adapting, there is a time delay. Women are going to work but men have not caught up with it, shown by the lack of contribution they make to domestic work.


Define the term 'gender scripts'.

Dunne (1997) carried out research into lesbian couples and found the absence of gender scripts meant that relationships were far more equal and negotiated. Gender scripts are ingrained ideas about what men and women should do according to their gender stereotypes.


Define the term 'triple shift'.`

This was proposed by Dunscombe and Marsden (2005). Hochschild (2013) developed the concept of emotion work- the responsibility of looking after the emotions and feelings of other family members. D and M proposed that women are now being forced to work a triple shift- emotion work, paid work and housework.


Explain the study of Edgell.

Edgell (1980) studied decision making within professional couples.

He found that:

Very important jobs such as those involving finances and moving houses were most often taken by the husband or jointly with the husband having the last say.

Important decisions such as the child's education and holidays were usually taken jointly and seldom by the wife alone.

Less important decisions such as home decor and food purchases were usually made by the wife alone.

Edgell argues the material explanation- that men usually make the more important decisions because they earn more, making their wives economically dependent on them.


Evaluate Edgell's research.

(-) outdated

(-) small sample size of 38- results cannot be generalised.

(-) Laurie and Gershuny found that by 1995, 70% of couples said they had equal say in decisions.

(+) Laurie and Gershuny also found that women who were high-earning, well-qualified professionals were more likely to have an equal say in decisions.


Explain the two types of money management systems.

The allowance system: Husbands have control over money and allocate a budget to women for household spending. They keep the surplus for themselves.

Pooling: Where both couples have control over money. This does not automatically mean equality as it has been found that even in pooling the husband has more control over the expenditure of money.


What did Nymann say about the meaning of money?

Nymann noted that money has no automatic or fixed meaning and can be defined differently by different couples. They might not pool money to maintain independence, and this does not reflect on the equality of the relationship.


What did Vogler find about pooling?

Vogler found that even when couples nominally pool their money, in practice either husband or wife is likely to control the pool. In only one fifth of couples was the pool jointly controlled, but these households were characterised by the highest levels of equality between husband and wife in terms of decision making, experience of deprivation and access to personal spending money.


Explain the personal life perspective on money.

The personal life perspective focuses on the meanings of couples regarding who controls the money.


Explain Smart's research into the personal life perspective on money.

Smart found that some gay men and lesbians were perfectly happy to leave control of the money to their partner and attached no importance to it. They did not think that control of money had meaning in terms of equality.

Smart suggests that this is because they do not enter relationships with the same historical and cultural meanings around money.


Explain what Weeks found in relation to sharing of money.

Weeks found that the typical pattern was pooling money for household spending while maintaining separate accounts for personal spending. Each partner maintains some independence, similar to the pattern Vogler found.

This supports the personal life perspective argument that it is essential to start from the personal meanings of the actors involved in the situation.


Explain the study by Pahl into money management.

Pahl (1989) interviewed 102 couples with at least one child under the age of 16 where both partner had some sort of income. They were interviewed together and then separately about money management.

She found that the most common form of money management was husband controlled pooling where money was shared but men had more influence over ow it was spent.

The allowance system was the least typical but was more common in working-class families.


Identify the two different explanations for the gender division of labour.

Crompton and Lyonette (2008) identified 2 different explanations for the gender division of labour:

The cultural explanation of inequality- caused by gender norms and patriarchal values. They believe that inequality will remain until we challenge deeply ingrained gender roles.

The material/economic explanation of inequality- women generally earn less so compensate by doing more domestic labour.

Another explanation is the one offered by functionalists: biology as women are naturally suited to the caring of young children.


Evaluate the cultural explanation of inequality.

(+) couples whose parents had more equal relationships were more likely to share housework equally.

(+) Leonard argues that patriarchal ideology underpins dominant ideas about both paid work and domestic labour and that men resist change because the division of labour suits them.

(+) younger men do more domestic work- culture is changing


Evaluate the material explanation of inequality.

(+) research suggests that for every 10,000 pounds more a women earns a year, she does 2 hours less housework per week.

(- ) households in which there is 50-50 equality are rare even thought ere are several in which earnings are not unequal.

(-) full time employed women increase their contribution to domestic chores when their partner loses their job.


Explain the Marxist Feminism explanation of inequality.`

This is a cultural explanation. Marxist feminists argue that domestic labour performed by women serves the needs of capitalism as it maintains the present workforce and reproduces the future labour power and functions as a reserve of cheap labour.

Cox and Federici (2010) argue that under capitalism women have assumed the role of breeders, housewives and consumers of goods.


Explain the Radical feminism explanation of inequality.

This is a cultural explanation. Radical feminists argue that the housewife role is created by patriarchy and is geared to the service of men and their interests. They argue that domestic violence is used by men to control and punish women who object to their domestic role.


Evaluate the feminist explanations of inequality.

(-) Hakim (1996) suggests that feminists underestimate women's ability to make rational choices and that some women choose the 'marriage career'. She says feminism may be guilty of devaluing the housewife role as second class.

(-) Hakim also suggests that feminists underestimate the degree of power that women enjoy. The fact that many women initiate divorce suggests that they have the power to leave the relationship if they are unhappy with it- however, it could alternatively be argued that this serves to demonstrate women's lack of power.


Define domestic violence.

Any incident or pattern of incidents of controlling coercive or threatening behaviour, violence or abuse between those aged 16 or over who are or have been intimate partners or family members regardless of gender or sexuality. This can encompass but is not limited to the following types of abuse: psychological, physical, sexual, financial, emotional.


Describe the patterns of domestic violence.

Women are more likely to experience domestic violence than men. This may start or increase during pregnancy (when women are vulnerable or less likely to leave their partner). Elizabeth Yardley said that domestic violence does not come 'out of the blue' and individuals tend to have experienced many incidents before reporting to the police.


What are the difficulties with the official statistics and research surrounding domestic violence?

It's an 'invisible crime'

It used to be felt that the family is a 'private sphere'

Underreporting as victims may feel too ashamed, scared or traumatised to seek support.

Victims often change their minds and do not support the police in their enquiries.

People might not understand if they are victims of domestic abuse.

Ethical issues conducting research.

Number of victims does not reveal frequency, severity or effects of DV

Aliyah Dar suggested that it can be difficult to count separate domestic violence instances because abuse may be continuous


Outline evidence for women being the victims of domestic violence more often.

Coleman found that women are more likely to have experienced intimate violence over all four types of abuse.

Coleman and Osborne found that 2/3 of female homocide victims are killed by current or former partners.

Ansara and Hindin, and Walby and Allen also found that women are more likely to be victims than men.

Two women a week are killed by a partner or former partner in England and Wales.


Outline the study by Dobash and Dobash.

They conducted research in Scotland which was based on police and court records and interviews with women from refuge centres.

They found violent incidents were often set off by what a husband saw as a challenge to his authority such as a wife asking why he was late home for a meal. They argue that marriage legitimates violence against women by conferring power and authority to men and dependency to women.

They also found that most women had not experienced DV before marriage, but had after.