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conjugal role

Definition of Conjugal Role

(noun) The roles occupied by a husband and wife resulting from the division of labor in a household.

Example of Conjugal Role

Conjugal Role Pronunciation

Pronunciation Usage Guide

Syllabification: con·ju·gal role

Audio Pronunciation

– American English
– British English

Phonetic Spelling

  • American English – /kAHn-jiguhl rOHl/
  • British English – /kOn-juguhl rOHl/

International Phonetic Alphabet

  • American English – /ˈkɑnʤəgəl roʊl/
  • British English – /ˈkɒnʤʊgəl rəʊl/

Usage Notes

Related Quotation

  • “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).

Additional Information

Related Terms


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.

Cite the Definition of Conjugal Role

ASA – American Sociological Association (5th edition)

Bell, Kenton, ed. 2014. “conjugal role.” In Open Education Sociology Dictionary. Retrieved June 23, 2024 (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 June 23, 2024. https://sociologydictionary.org/conjugal-role/.

MLA – Modern Language Association (7th edition)

“conjugal role.” Open Education Sociology Dictionary. Ed. Kenton Bell. 2014. Web. 23 Jun. 2024. <https://sociologydictionary.org/conjugal-role/>.