SPFB #3 Perspectives on Family Social Policy: Functionalism

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  • Perspectives on Family Social Policy:     Functionalism
    • Functionalists see society as built on harmony and consensus (shared values), and free from major conflict.
    • They see the state as acting in the interests of society as acting in the interests of society as a whole and its social policies as being for the good of all
    • Functionalists see polices as helping families to preform their functions more effectively and make life better for their members
    • Fletcher (1966)
      • Argues that the introduction of health, education and housing policies in the years since the industrial revolution has gradually led to the development of a welfare state that supports the family in preforming its functions more effectively
      • for example, the existence of the National Health Service means that with the help o doctors, nurses, hospitals and medicines, the family today is better able to take care of its members when they are sick
    • Identify two functions that families preform for their members apart from health care?
      • Accom-modation and Education
    • Suggest ways in which welfare polices may help families to carry out each of these two functions more effectively?
      • They Education Act ensures we stay in education  until we are 18
    • Criticisms:
      • It assumes that all members of the family benefit from social polices, whereas feminists argue that polices often benefit men at the expense of women
      • It assumes that there is a "march of progress", with social polices steadily making family life better and better, whereas Marxists argue that the polices can also turn the clock back and reverse progress previously y made, for example by cutting welfare benefits to poor families.


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