Taking your first steps into higher education
Taking your first steps into higher education

Start this free course now. Just create an account and sign in. Enrol and complete the course for a free statement of participation or digital badge if available.

Free course

Taking your first steps into higher education

3.2 Domestic roles

Week 5, focused on the changes in the domestic role of women and the effect of where you live on life chances. You will probably notice quite a few social science ideas in the previous sentence. A good example is ‘the domestic role’. Everyday conversations probably don’t usually use this phrase but it is used in social science to help identify a social issue clearly. In this case the issue is why men and women seem to behave differently at home.

Noticing this difference and then carrying out research to provide evidence is a key aspect of social science. It explains why it can be quite powerful, for example, noticing that men and women occupy different roles reveals what people think being a woman or a man involves, and has many implications, for example in relation to domestic violence.

Once you have reminded yourself about what you studied in Week 5 [Tip: hold Ctrl and click a link to open it in a new tab. (Hide tip)] , please do the following activity.

Activity 5 Reflecting on domestic roles, place and life chances

Timing: Allow approximately 20 minutes
In the background a man doing housework.
Figure 5 A man doing housework

This is an opportunity to think about how your responses to and understanding of these aspects of social science might have changed.

Answer the following questions:

Table 5 Reflecting on domestic life

NowWhat's changed?
  1. How do you understand ‘domestic role’?
  1. How do you understand ‘feminism’?
  1. Do you understand how social science sees the domestic division of labour?
  1. Can you use your understanding of place and life chances and apply this to yourself or someone else?
  1. Are you more or less likely to study a social science subject as a result of this week?

Comment

There are more questions in this activity about social science ideas. A key part of social science is taking these ideas and applying them to problems and issues that concern or interest people. If you have found that this approach appeals to you, then you will probably answer the final question by saying that you are more likely to choose a social science subject than you were at the start of this course.

In the two weeks that focused on arts subjects it was suggested that understanding of poetry and modern art begins with our own personal responses. In the social sciences these responses are shaped by the fact that we are individuals within a society. To survive and prosper, we all become social scientists, if only to navigate the encounters we have with people.

A cartoon picture called Why do we eat? shows the head, upper body and arms of a robot-like figure.
Figure 6 We are all scientists

Some people suggest that humans are all scientists too because if we have an idea about something we try and test out whether it is true. For example, if I’m hungry, my ‘solution’ is to have something to eat. Science is a very human activity, but it can come to seem very specialised and dependent on high levels of expertise.

Skip Your course resources
HE1S_1

Take your learning further

Making the decision to study can be a big step, which is why you'll want a trusted University. The Open University has 50 years’ experience delivering flexible learning and 170,000 students are studying with us right now. Take a look at all Open University courses.

If you are new to University-level study, we offer two introductory routes to our qualifications. You could either choose to start with an Access module, or a module which allows you to count your previous learning towards an Open University qualification. Read our guide on Where to take your learning next for more information.

Not ready for formal University study? Then browse over 1000 free courses on OpenLearn and sign up to our newsletter to hear about new free courses as they are released.

Every year, thousands of students decide to study with The Open University. With over 120 qualifications, we’ve got the right course for you.

Request an Open University prospectus371