Definition of Conjugal Role
Example of Conjugal Role
- One spouse works outside the home for income, and the other takes care of the children while maintaining the home.
Conjugal Role Pronunciation
Syllabification: con·ju·gal role
- American English – /kAHn-jiguhl rOHl/
- British English – /kOn-juguhl rOHl/
International Phonetic Alphabet
- American English – /ˈkɑnʤəgəl roʊl/
- British English – /ˈkɒnʤʊgəl rəʊl/
- Plural: conjugal roles
- This term assumes a heteronormative marriage between a heterosexual male and female.
- The terms joint conjugal role and segregated conjugal role were coined by Elizabeth Bott (née Spillius) (1924–2016) in Family and Social Networks: Roles, Norms, and External Relationships in Ordinary Urban Families (1957) to discuss the sexual division of labor of domestic labor in households. A joint conjugal role refers a husband and wife performing tasks interchangeably, and in contrast, a segregated conjugal role refers to a clear distinction in household tasks between a husband and wife
- The term symmetrical family, coined by Michael Young (1915–2002) and Peter Willmott (1923–2000) in The Symmetrical Family (1973), based on research in England, describing the evolution of the family structure towards a more egalitarian model of a joint conjugal-role relationship instead of a segregated conjugal-role relationship. The implications and criticisms of this work are oft discussed in the social sciences.
- “The members of the conjugal family in our urban society normally share a common basis of economic support in the form of money income, but this income is not derived from the co-operative efforts of the family as a unit – its principal source lies in the remuneration of occupational role performed by individual members of the family. Status in an occupational role is generally, however, specifically segregated from kinship status – a person holds a ‘job‘ as an individual, not by virtue of his status in a family. Among the occupational statuses of members of a family, if there is more than one, much the most important is that of the husband and father, not only because it is usually the primary source of family income, but also because it is the most important single basis of the status of the family in the community at large. To be the main ‘breadwinner’ of his family is a primary role of the normal adult man in our society. The corollary of this role is his far smaller participation than that of his wife in the internal affairs of the household. Consequently, ‘housekeeping’ and the care of children is still the primary functional content of the adult feminine role in the middle-classes, in the great majority of cases not one which in status or remuneration competes closely with those held by men of her own class. Hence there is a typically asymmetrical relation of the marriage pair to the occupational structure. This asymmetrical relation apparently both has exceedingly important positive functional significance and is at the same time an important source of strain in relation to the patterning of sex roles” (Parsons 1943:32–33).
- Family and Kinship Resources – Books, Journals, and Helpful Links
- Role Theory Resources – Books, Journals, and Helpful Links
- Sex and Gender Resources – Books, Journals, and Helpful Links
- Word origin of “conjugal” and “role” – Online Etymology Dictionary: etymonline.com
- blended family
- conjugal family
- divorced family
- extended family
- nuclear family
- single-parent family
- skipped generation family
- symmetrical family
Parsons, Talcott. 1943. “The Kinship System of the Contemporary United States.” American Anthropologist 45(1):22–38. doi:10.1525/aa.1943.45.1.02a00030.
ASA – American Sociological Association (5th edition)
Bell, Kenton, ed. 2014. “conjugal role.” In Open Education Sociology Dictionary. Retrieved August 7, 2020 (https://sociologydictionary.org/conjugal-role/).
APA – American Psychological Association (6th edition)
conjugal role. (2014). In K. Bell (Ed.), Open education sociology dictionary. Retrieved from https://sociologydictionary.org/conjugal-role/
Chicago/Turabian: Author-Date – Chicago Manual of Style (16th edition)
Bell, Kenton, ed. 2014. “conjugal role.” In Open Education Sociology Dictionary. Accessed August 7, 2020. https://sociologydictionary.org/conjugal-role/.
MLA – Modern Language Association (7th edition)
“conjugal role.” Open Education Sociology Dictionary. Ed. Kenton Bell. 2014. Web. 7 Aug. 2020. <https://sociologydictionary.org/conjugal-role/>.