politics, social policy and the family:

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  • Sociological approaches and family policies:
    • Feminist& Marxists- state policies are formed around a dominant family ideology.
      • "Cereal Packet Family"- stereotype, Husband= instrumental role,breadwinner Wife= expressive, nurturing role
        • Feminist writers: Barrett and McIntosh- argued this stereotype is patriarchal, harmful & anti-social
          • Patriarchal: involves exploitation of women- State policies= giving more generous maternity leave than paternity leave- encourage gendered division
          • Harmful: lack any meaningful relationships, pretends there is no "darker side" of family life
    • Politics, social policy and the family
      • Laws & social policies affecting the family and households:
        • 2 main social policies aimed at families:
          • Those aimed at providing direct material support for families
            • Cash benefits: Tax, child benefit and Child Maintenance Service
          • Those to help parents balance the demands of paid employemnt and family life and support of children
            • Maternity& Paternity leave
            • Support through nursery education
      • Functionalists: State policies have assisted the family in carrying out its functions more effectively
        • Ronald Fletcher: argues the Welfare State supports the family in performing its functions more effectively- the existence of NHS
      • The New Right: promote policies that support traditional family units.- Criticise many existing gov. policies for undermining the family= providing council housing
        • Charles Murray: Argues that benefits offer "perverse incentives"- they reward irresponsible or anti-social behaviour
      • 1980's and 1900s: Conservative Party policy
        • The New Right approach was very influential
        • Social policies aimed to strengthen nuclear families- emphasising self-help- tried to save money by reducing welfare benefots.
      • 1997-2010: Labour Party policy
        • Some New Right ideas were continued, continual concerns expressed over "dysfunctional" families
        • Social policy showed growing diversity of family forms- emphasis placed on care, protection and development of children
          • "New Deals" support lone parents from dependence on welfare back into employment
          • Britain's first National Minimum Wage
          • The Civil Partnership Act in 2005
      • 2010 onwards: Conservative-Liberal Democrat coalition policy
        • The Conservative Party manifesto in 2010- commitment to offer tax benefits for married couples - encourage people to marry


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