• Join over 1.2 million students every month
  • Accelerate your learning by 29%
  • Unlimited access from just £6.99 per month

Assess the claim that the family has become increasingly symmetrical

Extracts from this document...

Introduction

Assess the claim that the family has become increasingly symmetrical Many sociologists have different perspectives on whether or not the family has become increasingly symmetrical. Some sociologists such as Willmott and Young believe that the family does not consist of conjugal roles where the couple have separate roles, such as the women carrying out the expressive role and the male carrying out the instrumental role. Whereas there are other assumptions that have been made by other sociologists, such as Ann Oakley, a feminist, who believes that household roles are not joint, the cohabiting couple do not share household tasks like childcare and housework. Writers such as Willmott and Young have argued that contemporary family life in Britain is becoming increasingly symmetrical. While there remains some forms of role segregation, modern families place emphasis on both joint conjugal roles and an overall equality of household roles. They see family life as gradually improving for all its members and that families are becoming more democratic and equal. They did a study of families living in London and they found that the symmetrical family was more common amongst younger couples, those that are socially isolated and generally families that are better off. ...read more.

Middle

They see this as being work; therefore, women have to do a 'triple shift'. This proves the theory that the family is not symmetrical as the women are still doing the work, with now more evidence of that, which is the 'triple shift' theory. Another feminist that would back up Oakley's theory of the non symmetrical family is Pahl (1993) who interviewed 102 couples with children, she saw together and alone. She focused on how each partner's contribution to family income effects the decision making within the family. The results of her research showed that the husband controlled pooling was the most common, this means that the money is shared but the husband has the most control and the wife had a lower income. She also found that the situation where the wife had control was the least common. Therefore in over a quarter of couples there is some equality but in most cases had more power. This proves the theory that industrialisation plays a major part in the segregation, as the husbands are the main breadwinners therefore giving them more power in financial issues, thus enforces women's economic dependence on men. ...read more.

Conclusion

Where as if Oakley had taken a sample from a more remote area, her results may have been different, as there would be less pressure on the family. The only survey that can really prove any claim to represent everyone is the British Social Attitudes Survey which used a much larger sample of people (around 3000) and used careful sampling techniques. There are also criticisms of Duncombe and Marsden which are that as well as Oakley only interviewed 40 couples which is a too small sample to apply to everyone in Britain. Aswell as this they interviewed the couple's together, therefore putting pressure on the wives to say that their husbands did more than they actually did. In light of the above evidence, women are still a long way away from real symmetry of roles in the family, as proved by Oakley, Pahl, Edgell and Duncombe and Marsden. All these sociologists have given some kind of evidence towards the fact that there has been a slight movement toward equality, but ultimately women still take the prime responsibility for the household tasks and childcare, and they still have less power in the relationship within the family and economically. All of this evidence towards a non symmetrical family has disproved Willmott and Young's theory of symmetry in the family, although not completely. ...read more.

The above preview is unformatted text

This student written piece of work is one of many that can be found in our GCSE Sociology section.

Found what you're looking for?

  • Start learning 29% faster today
  • 150,000+ documents available
  • Just £6.99 a month

Not the one? Search for your essay title...
  • Join over 1.2 million students every month
  • Accelerate your learning by 29%
  • Unlimited access from just £6.99 per month

See related essaysSee related essays

Related GCSE Sociology essays

  1. Marked by a teacher

    Assess the claim that the family has become increasingly symmetrical

    4 star(s)

    They are now more 'home centred or privatised'. An increasing percentage of women are wage earners whether it is part or full-time work. Women are also freer to go out on their own and socialise while a husband will stay at home with children.

  2. Changes in Family Roles

    I posted a question on "Yahoo Answers" which quoted "Do you believe there is still a role for the extended family in the 21st century?" From this online blog, I gathered a lot of information on what people believed the role of the extended family was in the past and how it has changed now.

  1. Assess the Claim that the Nuclear Family is Universal.

    It ignores how change may come about because of legal and attitudinal changes. (c) Radical Feminists suggest that Marxists ignore the patriarchal nature of society The fact Marxists feel that the family is too patriarchal, it therefore shows that they must base their concepts on the nuclear family only, which

  2. Has the family became symmetrical?

    Their view is also shared by other march of progress theorists, Goode and Shorter who both argue that industrialization and capitalism have led to greater freedom for individuals and greater equality for women. Also that marriage has become more equal and that marital love and romance have taken over from the unfeeling, pre-industrial family.

  1. Rationale - I have decided to study the gender-oriented issue of conjugal roles in ...

    The second disadvantage is typical because I do not know the amount of confidence I can have in the usualness of the day recorded. Most people's lives follow regular patterns but if my diary period of ten days is untypical then my picture as the researcher will be distorted. EVIDENCE.

  2. Is George Murdock's 'Nuclear Family' still, the norm in British society?

    The reason I have chosen to complete a survey is because it will produce a wide variety of data, which can easily be, turned into quantitative data i.e. percentages. These will allow me to easily analyse and draw conclusions to whether the nuclear family is the norm in Britain today.

  1. Examine the claim made by some feminist sociologists that marriage and family life can ...

    This may have negative consequences for women in the form of domestic violence. Radical feminists have far more opinionated views. They believe that the nuclear family cemented the female role as a "mother-housewife", allowing men to dominate paid work. They believe that male sand female s are socialized into ideals that are largely male based and support male superiority.

  2. Rawls claims that ‘utilitarianism does not take the distinction between persons seriously.’ Explain this ...

    For example, in a 'just' society the utilitarian could justify slavery if the rest of the citizen's happiness outweighed the discomfort of the minority slaves. Although it could be argued that Rawls too could justify slavery if the worst off, namely the slaves were to benefit, it would seem highly

  • Over 160,000 pieces
    of student written work
  • Annotated by
    experienced teachers
  • Ideas and feedback to
    improve your own work