Social Networks and Innovation in the Division of Labour between Men and Women in the Family and in the Community: A Study of Moroccan Immigrants in Israel


  • *Presented to the 7th World Congress of Sociology, Varna, September 1970. A previous version of this paper was written during my stay at Manchester University as Research Fellow in Social Anthropology. I am indebted to the Bernstein Scheme for Anthropological Research in Israel which enabled me to carry out fieldwork from October 1965 till March 1967 in the community reported on in this paper. It is mainly due to Professor M. Gluckman's encouragement that I pursued the analysis presented here. I am also indebted to him for his later comments on the manuscript. I should like to thank my colleagues in the Department of Sociology at Tel-Aviv University for their helpful comments at the staff seminar in which I presented this discussion. My thanks are due to Mrs N. Nevo, Dr E. Marx, Dr E. Cohen, and Dr S. Deshen for reading and commenting on the manuscript.


L'auteur verifie l'hypothese d'E. Bott (concernant les relations entre la connexite des reseaux sociaux et le niveau de segregation dans les roles conjugaux) dans une situation ou les families d'immigrants - provenant de milieux traditionnels enra-cines dans des reseaux sociaux fortement integres et viables - subissent de fortes pressions pour permettre aux femmes de participer avec leurs maris dans les activites economiques.

Les modeles antecedents de segregation dans les roles conjugaux et autres roles sociaux persistent dans la communaute. Mais de nouveaux modeles de relations conjugates conjointes dans les activites de loisir se developperent en dehors de la communaute, au-dela des limites des reseaux sociaux integres de ces couples.

The paper tests E. Bolt's hypothesis (about the relations between the connectedness of social networks and the degree of segregation in conjugal roles) in a situation where families of immigrants from a traditional background still imbedded within close-knit and viable social networks were under pressure to let women participate with their spouses in economic activities.

The previous patterns of segregation in conjugal and other roles were found to continue intact within the community. But new patterns of joint conjugal relationship in leisure activities were developed outside the community, beyond the range of those couples' closely-knit social networks.