Assess The View That Conjugal Roles Are Almost Equal

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Conjugal roles are the positions that the husband and wife occupy in the home, the parts they play. In the past these parts were very different and in the first half of the century the roles of the husband and wife were found to be very much segregated. There was a clear-cut division of labour between them in the household and the husband was relatively uninvolved with domestic chores and raising the children, which was thought to be the wife’s job whereas his was to be the breadwinner. This was apparent in working class areas in the first half of the century. In the mid 50’s Willmott & Young conducted a study entitles ‘Family and Kinship in East London’; it was conducted in Bethnal Green, a long settled traditional working-class area. They found there was a close tie between female relatives with two out of three married people having parents living within two or three miles of them. In comparison to the strong tie between mother and her married daughter the conjugal bond between husband and wife was found to be relatively weak, Women created an ‘informal trade union’ which largely excluded men. Different sociologists have had different views to whether conjugal roles have become equal. Researchers have measured different aspects of equality/inequality in conjugal roles. Some have concentrated on the division of labour in the home: they have examined the allocation of responsibility for domestic work between husband and wife and the amount of time spent by spouses on particular tasks. Others have tried to measure the distribution of power within marriage. Willmott and Young, and Gillian Dunne are amongst those who have argued that conjugal roles are equal. However many sociologists such as Ann Oakley, Ferri and Smith, Duncombe and Marsden, and Edgel, who have carried out research into the area of conjugal roles, have found little evidence that
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