Social Exchange Theory And Division Of Household Labor Essay

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Dishes or Dollars? A Review of “Social Exchange Theory and the Division of Household Labor in Same-Sex Couples” by Suzanne Taylor Sutphin The division of power and responsibility in family units has traditionally been studied with a focus on the role gender plays in that distribution (Sutphin, 2010). Structural functionalism, for example, traditionally suggests the male is the breadwinner and the female is the homemaker. Feminism might refute this claim and state that the inverse is acceptable. However, when trying to understand the power imbalances of same-sex couples, gender is taken out of the equation. In order to generate more understanding concerning the power imbalances of same-sex couples, Sutphin (2010) chose to employ the theoretical framework of social exchange theory to guide her study of the division of household labor in same-sex couples, a decision Knapp (2009) would have lauded as “critical theorizing.” Such integration of theory in research provides context and organization to the understanding of human behavior. This review intends to analyze the author’s accurate use of social exchange theory to ground the study and interpret her findings in order to expand the use of the theory and promote a more comprehensive understanding of social exchange. The Theory of Social Exchange The underlying premise of social exchange theory is the idea that in relationships, humans will act rationally and in their own best interest so as to maximize personal profit or gain
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