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FSU FAD 2230 - Chapter 10: Power and Violence in Families

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Chapter 10: Power and Violence in FamiliesWhat is Power?The ability to control someone else’s behavior, even against their willThe ability to exercise one’s will over anotherWhen one person gets another person to do something they might not have otherwise done.Intimate Partner Power: in referring to unmarried couples or to unmarried and married couples.What does Marital Power Involve?Marital Power: (husbands and wives)Involves decision making: Who gets to make decisions about everything from where the couple will live to how they will spend their leisure time?Involves division of labor: Who earns money? Who does the work around the house?Involves allocation of money: Who controls spending of the money?Involves sense of empowerment, being able to influence: Objective Measures of Power (who actually makes more – or more important– decisions) and the Subjective Measure of Fairness in the marriage Judging fairness can be grounded in equality standard – both partners should shareequally in the rights and responsibilities of the relationship. Or equity – are the rewards and privileges of the relationship proportions to the contributing of the partners?Power BasesTwo psychologists (French and Raven 1959) developed a typology of six bases, or sources, of social power: coercive, reward, expert, informational, referent, and legitimate power.Type of Power Source of Power ExampleCoercive PowerAbility and willingness to punish the partnerPartner sulks, refuses to talk, and withholds sex; physical violenceReward PowerAbility and willingness to give partner material or nonmaterial gifts and favorsPartner gives affection, attention, praise, and respect to partner, and assists him or her in realizing his or her goals; takes over unpleasant tasks; gives material giftsExpert PowerKnowledge, ability, judgment Savings and investment decisions made by the more experienced, educated partnerInformational PowerKnows more about a consumeritem, childrearing, housing market, health issuePersuades other partner about most effective mode of child discipline, citing experts’ booksReferent PowerEmotional identification with partnerPartner aggress to purchase of house or travel plans preferredby the other because they wantthe other partner happyLegitimate PowerSociety and culture authorize the power of one or the other partner or bothIn traditional marriage, husband has final authority as “head” of household; current ideal is that of equal partners.The Dynamics of Marital PowerClassical Perspective on Marital PowerRobert Blood and Donald Wolfe were curious about how married couples made decisions. Their book Husbands and Wives: The Dynamics of Married Living was based on interviews with wives only.Egalitarian Power and the Resource Hypothesis Blood and Wolfe began with the assumption that although the American family’s forebears were patriarchal, “the predominance of the male has been so thoroughly undermined that we no longer love in a patriarchal system”The resource hypothesis holds that the spouse with more resources has more power in marriage. Resources include education and earnings.Most families (72%) had a “relatively egalitarian” decision-making structure ( that isthe spouses held roughly equal power, whether that involved separate areas of decision making or joint. The resource hypothesis was supported by the finding that the relative resources of wives and husbands were important in determining which partner made more decisions. Blood and Wolfe also found the relative power of a wife being greater after she no long had young children or when she worked outside the home and thereby gained wage earning resources for herself.Criticism of the Resource HypothesisOne criticism concerns Blood and Wolfe’s criteria for attributing power to husbands and wives. The decisions made by wives were generally less important.Important areas of family life that were not included, such as sexually life, how manychildren to have, how much freedom, partners might have for same – or opposite- sex friendships. Another criticism of the resource hypothesis concerns its narrow focus but does not take into account their personalities and the way they interact.Martial power is more than decision making; it is also implies the relative autonomyof wives and husbands, along with the division of labor in marriages.Resource and GenderFeminist Dair Gillespie pointed out that power-giving resources tend to be unevenly distributed between sexes.So husbands are more likely to have more status, and they may be more knowledgeable, or seem to be.Women are more likely to have fewer alternatives to the marriage than their husbands, especially if wives cannot support themselves or are responsible fore the care of young children. Moreover, men can remarry more readily than women. American marriages continue to be in egalitarian even though they are no longer traditionalWage-earning wives have more to say in important decisions and in the division of household labor. Just after marriage the relationship is apt to be relatively egalitarian, with the husband only moderately more powerful than the wife.But relationships tend to become less egalitarian with the first pregnancy and birth. Women engaged in reproduction and child rearing may have less energy to resist dominance attempts.A mother may exert power over her husband by threatening to leave and tale the infant with her. But working for wages or even out earning a husband does not necessarily give a wife full status as an equal partner.Although women’s employment rates, statuses, and income have increased in recentdecades, their share of household work has NOT declined to a similar degree.Resources in Cultural ContextComparing traditional societies with more modern ones suggest that in traditional society, norms of patriarchal authority may be so strong that they override personal resources and give considerable power to all husbands. Put another way, in a traditional society, male authority is legitimate power.Resources in Cultural Context, stresses the idea that resources are not effective in conferring marital power in traditional societies that legitimate male dominance with a patriarchal norm.Asia, Central and South America.Subsequent generations may be expected to adopt the more common American pattern.USA has a transitional egalitarian situation regarding martial power, typical of the rest of the country, in which “husbands-wife relationships are


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