Using Material from Item and Elsewhere, Assess the View That Gender Roles and Relationships Have Become More Equal in Modern Family Life

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Using material from item 2B and elsewhere, assess the view that gender roles and relationships have become more equal in modern family life (24 marks)

The domestic division of labour refers to the roles that men and women take in relation to housework. These roles are often referred to as conjugal roles; roles which display roles within marriage itself. Segregated conjugal roles described the situation of man and wife having separate roles within the house where the man would more often be the breadwinner and the woman would be the homemaker. This notion supported Parsons idea of expressive roles, but is the centre of debate for feminist sociologists. There are also joint conjugal roles which represents the idea that couples share tasks such as housework, child rearing and decision making etc. Joint conjugal roles also describe the couple as sharing leisure time together, rather than independently. Within these marriages relationships also vary. One of the most deviant and misunderstood issue within the married couple is the idea that coercive power is used to control the other; usually the male using physical power (according to statistics). Domestic violence can be defined as any kind of physical, psychological, sexual or financial violence that takes place within the family toward an intimate partner. Domestic violence is seen as a method of control amongst partners, to display dominance and/or authority. It is often under-reported so national statistics are not always valid.
Some sociologists would argue that changes over the last 50 years have resulted in a huge change in the way the family works in modern day society; affecting both power balance, behaviour and labour division. Young and Willmott take a ‘march of progress’ view which means they see the family as a vital part of society, such as functionalists, which is gradually improving for all its…...

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