Assess the contribution of feminist sociologists to an understanding of family roles and relationships.

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Assess the contribution of feminist sociologists to an understanding of family roles and relationships.
In this essay I will explore the different schools of feminism such as Marxist, liberal and radical feminism, who share the view that women are oppressed in a patriarchal society but differ in opinion on who benefits from the inequalities. Each school of feminism has their own understanding of family roles and relationships which I will assess through this essay.
Firstly one must look at the division of domestic labour and conjugal roles. Conjugal roles refer to the roles performed by men and women in relation to housework, childcare and paid work. Traditionally men had the instrumental ‘bread-winning’ role which the women had the
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As this essay has shown so far, there is inequality in who does what in the home but there is also inequality in decision-making; in deciding who gets what and how the family resources are shared out between them. Barrett and McIntosh note that mean usually make the most important decisions, the financial support from men is often unpredictable and they usually gain more from women’s domestic labour than they give back in return. Feminist sociologists Pahl and Vogler suggest that because of men’s higher earnings women have more financial dependence on their husbands and this is why men take more control over major decisions. Edgell agrees with this view and states that women only exert some control on less important decisions such as home décor. Finch argues that wives’ lives are generally structured around the husbands’, such as if the husband had to move for work, the wives would pick up and go with them, whereas it is unlikely that the husband would follow their wife for work.
Radical feminists also suggest that domestic violence is evidence of patriarchy as men use the threat or use of violence to control women. Domestic violence is a widespread problem being a sixth of all violent crime in 2007 and the cause of over 100 deaths per year. Domestic violence is mainly perpetrated by men against women with 1 in 4 women being assaulted by their partners at some point in their lives and only 1 in 7 men being assaulted. However these figures may be under
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