The organisation of familial activities can be classified in different ways such as independent, complimentary and joint. Complimentary family is were the activities of a husband and wife are different but they live together as a family.
For an independent family, a husband and wife carry out there activities without consulting each other, while in a joint family they work together as a family in all aspects.
Both independent and complimentary are regarded as a segregated conjugal role-relationship while a joint-conjugal relation is where they have clear division of labour comprising male tasks and female tasks where each one of them has their own friends (Warren 2007).
On the other hand, joint conjugal role relashionship is where a husband and wife carry many activities together with minimum task differences. They also spend their leisure time together. In all families, there was a division of labour in that men were to support the family financially while women did household jobs and took care of the children (Adorno 2002).
The quantitive examination of the research data suggested that the degree of segregation of conjugal roles is related to connectedness in the total network of the family among other things affecting the way conjugal roles are performed which include the personalities of the husband and the wife (Bott 1971).
A family that is loose-knit does their things differently and associate mostly with relatives, neighbours and friends while a family that works closely together and depends on each other and excludes external relations which includes, neighbors, relatives and friends hence they are said to be a tight-coupling family.
They connect together in order to make any valuable considerations therefore decisions are made together however, if a wrong decision is made it tends to break the whole family. The degree of segregation in the role relationship of a husband and wife varies directly with the connectedness of the family’s social network.
According to Bott (1957), families that have a joint conjugal-role relationship are associated with a loose-knit network. However, the research findings made it clear that when people are married the degree of conjugal segregation changes especially with the arrival of a child where all families now come together as a joint family.
After the birth of a child, the activities of the couple are sharply different and they have to cut down on joint external reactions. The findings also suggest that most husbands and wives do not return to the extensive joint organizations of the first phase even if the presence of the children is not great (Elder 1988).
The data suggested that women’s network is likely to be more of close-knit than that of husbands because their relationship with their kin is harder to break off and also causes the kin to have more mutual aid and material assistance to offer to one another.
Therefore, friends cannot use their resources to help one another yet they take care of their families, relatives and their parents hence, it would be necessary to compare the type and degree of intimacy and obligation towards friends, neighbors and relatives (Elster 1999).
However the thesis was challenged in that its findings are restricted to data gathered which might not be reflecting exactly what is happening or may be biased to some extent for example, in situations where marriage is superimposed on relationship whether or not role of segregation arises from a close-knit family social network (Chinoy & Hewitt, 1975).
It is also criticized on the ground that conjugal role segregation is for monosex group rather than the close-knit personal or family social network. In his view we may intuitively feel that each spouse belongs to a monosex group, whereby this group defines conjugal role on a sex link basis which intern leads to conjugal-role segregation.
Adorno, T. (2002). Introduction to Sociology. Palo Alto, CA: Stanford University Press.
Bott, E. (1957). Family and Social Network, Roles, Norms and External Relationships in Ordinary Urban Families. London: Tavistock Publishers.
Bott, E. (1971). Reconsiderations. In Bott E., Family and Social Network. Roles, Norms and External Relationships in Ordinary Urban Families, 2nd edition. London: Tavistock Publ.
Chinoy, E. & Hewitt, J. P. (1975). Sociological perspective. New York, NY: Random House.
Elder, G. H. & Caspi, A. (1988). Studying Lives in a Changing Society. Henry Murray Lecture Series. Bucharest: Michigan State University.
Elster, J. (1999). Alchemies of the Mind. Rationality and the Emotions. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.
Warren, J. (2007). Service User and Carer Participation in Social Work. Exeter: Learning Matters.