Assess the view that families in our society can no longer be described as patriarchal?
For the most part of human civilisation families were always considered as being male dominated or patriarchal. However, from the mid 1950’s families have slowly become more women orientated. Some sociologists argue that now women have more power in the home and as they have become more equal to men in society they also have a lot more power in the marriage and the way the household operates. Sociologists say that modern day families are no longer dominated as they were last century and before.
In Talcott Parsons’ (1955) model of the nuclear family, the husband was an instrumental role providing for the family financially making him the bread winner. While the wife was an expressive role meeting the families emotional needs making her the homemaker, a full time housewife rather than a wage earner. However, other sociologists have criticised Parsons’ theory. Michael Young and Peter Willmott (1962) argue that men are now taking a greater share of domestic tasks and more wives are becoming wage earners. Feminist’s sociologists reject Parsons’ view that the division of labour is natural. They argue it only benefits men.
Elizabeth Bott (1957) distinguishes two roles, segregated conjugal roles and joint conjugal roles. Segregated conjugal roles where the couple have separate roles where a male is the breadwinner and a female is the homemaker/carer, as in Parsons’ instrumental and expressive roles. Joint conjugal roles where the couple share tasks such as housework and childcare and spend their leisure time together. Young and Willmott identify a pattern of segregated and joint conjugal roles in a study of working class extended families in east London in the 1950’s. Men were the breadwinners working mostly in the docks and spending their leisure time not in home life but with their friends in pubs etc. Women were full-time housewives taking responsibility of housework and...