Sociological Perspectives on Family Policy

View mindmap
  • Sociological perspectives on family policy
  • Functionalist
    • Ronald Fletcher
      • Introduction of health, education and housing  policies on the years since the industrial revolution has gradually led to the development of a welfare state that supports the family in performing its functions more effectively
        • the existence of the NHS means that with the help of doctors and nurses the family today is better able to take car of its members
    • see the state as acting in the interests of society as a whole and its social policies being for the good of all
    • see policies as helping families to perform their functions more effectively and make life better for their members
    • assumes that all members of tthhe family benefit equally from social policies, whereas feminists argue that policies often benefit men at the expense of women
    • assumes that there is a 'march of progress' with social policies steadily making family life better and better. however, Marxists argue that policies can also turn the clock back and reverse progress previously made
  • social policies can undermine or support different families
    • State policies can have an impact on the structure and functioning of a family
  • Functionalists say policies are there for the benefit of all its members
  • Feminists say that policies are there to allow the heterosexual patriarchal family dominate
  • Marxists see policies as a form of state power and control over families
  • Marxists
    • Donzelot developed the concept of surveillance for the family
      • professionals such as doctors and social workers as exercising power over their clients by using their expert knowledge to turn them into cases to be dealt with
    • Donzelot is interested in how state professionals carry out surveillance of the family
      • Social workers, health visitors and doctors use their knowledge to control and change families (policing families)
      • Surveilance is not targeted equally on all social classes
        • Poor families are more likely to be seen as 'problem families' and as the cause of crime and antti-social behaviour.
          • these are the families  that professionals target for improvement
    • Rachel Coudry
      • the state may seek to control and regulate family life by imposing compulsory parenting orders through the courts.
        • parents of young offenders, truants or badly behaved children may be forced to attend parenting classes to learn the 'correct' way to bring up their children
    • Marxist Feminists criticise Donzelot for failing to identify clearly who benefits from such policies of surveillance
      • Feminists would say that men are the main beneficiaries
  • Feminist
    • Even where policies appear to support women they may still reinforce patriarchy and act as a form of social control for women
    • Diana Leonard
      • social policies reinforce patriarchy, gender stereotypes and act as social control for women
      • Maternity Leave
        • Although maternity leave policies benefit women, theyakso reinforce patriarchy in the family. maternity leave is much more generous than paternity and it encourages mothers rather than fathers. Increases mothers economic dependence on their partners
      • Child Benefit
        • is normally paid to the mother. although this gives her a  source of income that does not depend in a father, it also assumes that the childs welfare is primarily her responsibility
      • Childcare
        • Full time work requires extra childcare which isn't affordable therefore women are restricted from working ng placed in a position of economic dependence on their partners
      • Care for sick and elderly
        • government policies often assume that the family will provide this care
          • middle aged women are expected to do the caring. in turn, this often prevents them from working full time, increasing their economic dependence on their partners
    • Not all policies are aimed at maintaining patriarchy
      • equal pay, sex discrimination, refugees for women, lesbians can marry, benefits for lone parents etc.
  • New Right
    • providing generous welfare benefits undermines the conventional nuclear family and encourages dysfunctional family types that harm society
    • Brenda Almond - permissive social policies have undermined the nuclear family
      • laws making divorce easier undermine the idea of marriage as life long commitment
      • Civil Partnerships for gay and lesbian couples sends out the message that the state no longer sees heterosexual marriages as superior
      • Tax laws discrimination against conventional families with a sole breadwinner
    • Charles Murray
      • providing council houses for unmarried teenage mothers encourages young girls to become pregnant
      • the growth of lone parent families menas more boys groy up without a male role model. lck of paternal authourity is responsible for rising crime rate among young males
      • if fathers see that the state will maintain their children, some of them will abandon their responsibility towards the family
    • policy must be changed with cuts to welfare spending and tighter restrictions on who is eligible for benefits
    • the less the state interferes the better family life will be. Greater self reliance is what will enable the family to meet its members needs
    • ignore policies that support and maintain nuclear family
    • Pam Abbott & Claire Wallace
      • cutting benefits would drive many poor families into even greater poverty and less self relience
    • Feminists argue that its an attempt to return to the traditional family that subordinated women
  • advocate policies that support the traditional nuclear family


No comments have yet been made

Similar Sociology resources:

See all Sociology resources »See all Families and households resources »