Families and Households - The New Right

Families and Households - The New Right 1/3

Gained power from 1980-1990, conservative traditions, freedom of the individual, supporting the free market in all social/economic arrangements, and also Supports traditional values, institutions and their idea of the role of the family, importance and function in society is v. similar to functionalism

Nuclear families and kinship network perform important, beneficial functions for securing social stability, establishing emotional support for children and socialising them into the culture of the society and conforming to social norms as values

New Right sociologists believe that the heterosexual nuclear family w/ two natural parents operating in the correct instrumental and expressive roles is the best to raise children in, and it’s crucial that this family remains dominant, however, they think the traditional family life is under threat from social change, such as increased divorce rates, lone parents, LGBT families, cohabitation, (and the welfare state)

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Families and Households - The New Right 2/3

Social change, such as increased divorce rates, lone parents, LGBT families, cohabitation (and the welfare state), undermine societal stability + contribute to: increase of anti-social behaviour, lack of discipline in schools, educational underachievement, alcohol/drug abuse, crime, etc.

e.g working mothers, ‘put careers above children’, no father at home, lack of successful male role models, = uncontrollable child, a fault of the lone mother who can’t discipline the child effectively (but a father could)

Murray & Marsland (1998) argue the welfare state undermined personal responsibility and self help and the importance of support from families, having issue w/ lone single mothers gaining support form the welfare state (which encourages young women to have babies despite not affording them, knowing the state supports them), contributing to decline in traditional family, rise in lone parents, dependency culture and workshy underclass who avoid working by claiming benefits

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Families and Households - The New Right 3/3

dependency culture = set of values/beliefs/way of life centred on dependence on others/welfare state, underclass = social group at the social hierarchy bottom that are cut off from mainstream society (this is marked by illegitimacy, lone parents, family instability, contributing to wider social issues)

Would like to return to traditional family values w/ government policy to do so, policies that include: reducing births outside marriage, divorce, and welfare benefits for non-conventional families (this would make alternative lifestyles unattractive ) whilst  supporting conventional nuclear families and legal marriage over cohabitation, strengthening traditional gender roles, w/ tax relief for married couples

BUT, they ignore the dark side of the traditional family, fail to acknowledge inequality in families (exploitation of women), are intolerant and not inclusive, and they victim blame.

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