Family Policy


  • the government have the family's best interests at heart to maintain consensus
  • roles are assigned within the nuclear family by the government e.g reproduction and economic
  • Fletcher uses examples on how policies have helped families to fulfil their roles e.g education, health care, housing
  • AO3: Donzelot says family policy does not benefit all and is a form of control e.g health visitors coming into your house 
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  • they believe that it benefis men only and isolates women-based on patriarchy
  • Land(1978)- critises family policy saying that the best type of family is nuclear and the policies make it difficult to live in other families
  • e.g Tax and Benefit policies: assume that they have only one main breadwinner and cannot have dual earner in the family
  • Childcare: very expensive, does not allow a dual earner, making them financially dependent on the male
  • Care for the sick and the elderly: if someone is dependent on you, due to age and illness, gov. gives you benefits, woman usually restricted from work
  • Leonard: even if there is equality between men and women, there is still going to be policies based on patriarchy e.g maternity leave 
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New Right

  • believe that the nuclear family is more conventional-heterosexual and married
  • they are aware of family types changing, increasing family diversity 
  • they believe the family should be an independent unit, self-sufficient with their roles being carried out
  • Murray-Dependency culture
  • Examples of policies that undermine the nuclear family: divorce reform act-less nuclear families, civil partnership, same sex marriage
  • they suggested some solutions: state taking less of a role within the family to allow it to be private, tax people who are married less to encourage more nuclear families, cuts to how much money the welfare system gives out
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  • support nuclear families and promote it, also promoted abolishment of homosexual families
  • say divorce is a social problem-introduced CSA-makes the father more responsible, however divorce was made easier as whoever had custody would receive benefits. 
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New Labour (1997-2010)

  • also supported the idea of the nuclear family-more responsibility on parents-consequences of not taking on their roles, parenting order is issued by the court
  • women can work so rejected the new right view of a single earner in a family 
  • Chester found that this party favoured dual earner family as they implemented the following policies:
  • longer maternity leave, working family tax credits allow claim of tax relief on child care cost, new deal- helping lone parents get back into work by offering free childcare for 2-3 year olds, support child partmership and gave unmarried couples the same right to adopt
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Coalition Government

  • Hayton(2010) pointed out that this government was divided when it comes to family
  • modernisers-recognise the family diversity today
  • traditionalists-reject any family diversity and agree with the new right view
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Gender regimes

  • familistic gender regimes- where polcies are based on a traditional gender division between male breadwinner and female housewife and carer
  • individualistic gender regimes-where policies are based on the belief that husbands and wives should be treated the same, wives are assumed to be financially dependent on their husbands, so each partner has a separate entitlement to state benefits. 
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