Unit 1 Sociologists
Willmott and Young:
Bethnal Green study. The symmetrical family trends away from segregated roles. Due to changes in the household (working women, men helping with domestic tasks, spending leisure time together) and social changes (technology, position of women, standards of living, geographical mobility)Take a March of Progress view
Two types of conjugal roles (segregated and joint)
Gershuny: The longer the wife spends in paid work, the more housework the husband does
If the woman is working full-time, there is a more equal division of labour at home
Earnings are still unequal
Social values are adapting to full-time working women
Roles are becoming more symmetrical (similar to Willmott and Young’s MoP view)
Women who didn’t work did 83% of the housework. Part-time = 82%. Full-time = 73%.
Duncombe and Marsden:
Women do a triple shift as they do paid employment, housework and emotion work.
Domestic abuse is the result of the stress of family members caused by social inequality
Some families have fewer resources than others
Not all people are equally in danger of domestic abuse
A woman suffers around 35 assaults before reporting it
6.6 million assaults each year, half involving physical injury
99% are committed by men against women
¼ women suffer domestic abuse at least once in their life, 1/8 repeatedly so.
State agencies don’t want to become involved in the family because they believe the family is a good thing (ignores ‘dark side’), women are free to leave and the family is a private sphere.
While many welcome the opportunity to have their same-sex partnerships legally recognised, others fear that it may limit the flexibility of their relationship.
Elements of the modern notion of childhood began to emerge from the 13th century (18th century handbook on child bearing, schools, growing distinction between clothing)
Criticism of this is that in the middle ages there was simply a different notion of childhood.
In the middle ages the idea of childhood didn’t exist – children weren’t seen as having different needs to adults.Studied paintings – children were simply depicted as small adults, no differences between them (same clothing, working together)
Studied rural Bolivia
Children of 5 years were expected to take on work responsibilities in the home and community
Raymond Firth: In Tikopia, there is less value placed on obedience to adults
Studied a Samoan village
Found that being too young was never given as a reason not to undertake a task
Childhood is disappearing ‘at a dazzling speed’
There are growing similarities between the adult and child world eg. clothing
Television: blurs distinction between adult and child world, diminishes adult authority, easy to access.
Disappearance of traditional childhood games
Children committing ‘adult’ crimes eg. murder
Middle ages and the 19th century
Townsend: Old age has been socially constructed as a period of dependency
Morgan: We can’t generalise about the meaning of divorce
Allan and Crow:
Until recently, same-sex partners have had to negotiate commitments and responsibilities more than married couples
Ferri and Smith:
Stepfamilies are very similar to first families in many respects
The neo-conventional family (dual earner)
The nuclear family remains the ideal
Most people will spend a major part of their lives in a nuclear family
Parsons (Functionalist): The modern nuclear family has two essential functions: the stabilisation of adult personalities and the primary socialisation of children.
There are 2 basic types of society: modern industrial and pre-industrial.
The family needs to be geographically mobile (move to where jobs are) and socially mobile (skilled, technically competent workforce).
The nuclear family is best equipped to meet these needs.
When Britain began to industrialise, there was a shift in the dominant family type from the extended family to the nuclear family as society had different needs.
The division of labour is beneficial to the family and wider society.
There is a clear division of labour based on biological differences.
The husband has the instrumental role, the wife has the expressive role.
View also held by New Right
The family is a basic building block of society.
The family performs 4 functions: meeting members’ economic needs, reproduction of the next generation, socialisation of the young, stable satisfaction of the sex drive.
Criticisms:Marxists say the family meets the needs of capitalism.
Feminists – the family serves men and oppresses women.‘rose-tinted glasses’. Ignores ‘dark side’ of family life eg. domestic violence
The higher expectations that people place on marriage are the major cause of rising divorce rates.
This is supported by the ideology of romantic love and the continuing popularity of marriage.
Ann Oakley (Feminist):
Criticises Willmott and Young: men only do small tasks.
Women are dependent on men.
The housewife role is still the primary role for women.
Women are excluded from the workplace.
New Right wrongly assumes that roles are fixed by biology
Warde and Heatherington (Feminists):
Men do tasks when women aren’t around
There has been a slight change in younger men – there is more equality in tasks.
Bernard (Radical Feminist):
Women feel a growing dissatisfaction with patriarchal marriage.
Increasing social acceptance may explain the trend in recent years towards same-sex cohabitation and stable relationships that resemble those of heterosexuals’.
There is a growing acceptance of sexual and family diversity.
Family patterns are still fairly traditional.
New Right are fighting a losing battle.Since the 1950s there has been a long term shift in attitudes.
Case studies: women have been the main agents of change in the family.
Many women have rejected the traditional housewife/mother role.
The traditional patriarchal family provides a stable and predictable basis for family life.
We now live in a ‘risk society’ where tradition has less influence.
The ‘negotiated family’: relationships are now entered on an equal basis.
The patriarchal family has been undermined by 2 trends: greater individualism and greater gender equality.
In recent decades, the family and marriage has been transformed due to equal relationships and greater choice.
Women have gained independence (greater opportunities in education & work)
With more choice, personal relationships have become less stable.
Mitchell and Goody (Interactionist):
Found that some people see divorce as negative, some positive.
Since the 60s there has been a decline in the stigma of divorce