Family ideology

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  • Created by: Lily
  • Created on: 02-05-13 22:17

What is ideology?

  • An ideology is a set of ideas, values, beliefs, knowledge, that explain the way society is structured.
  • These ideas justify social action/behaviour & culture - "shapes the way we view the world"
  • Dominant ideologies - those in powerful positions ensure the dominance of their ideas. This is likely to produce a distortion of reality
  • e.g MARXISTS - dominance of ruling class, FEMINISTS - maintains womens explotation


  • Encouraged to see a particular type of family as normal/natural/desirable
  • Likely to be nuclear (married & dependent children), happy unit, father as breadwinner, mother as caring homemaker, love & affection
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Government policy & legislation

  • Traditional family values are stressed through topics such as education, crime & health
  • Importance of family - core in all 3 main parties
  • Welfare state based on the traditional family
  • Policies encourage people to live in certain ways
  • "moral panics" e.g childabuse, absent fathers etc


  • Assumes womens involvement in childcare
  • School hours/holidays = difficult for both parents to be employed
  • Lack of state assistance for the elderly
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New Right & The Family

  • MAIN CONCERN - the contemporary family is under threat and breaking down. The effect on society would be catastrophic.
  • BELIEFS - heterosexual relationships between 2 parents, "building block of society", provides social stability, seperate roles due to biology, all other arrangements are a threat. Welfare dependency & feminism have undermined the family.
  • EVIDENCE - high level of lone-parents, increasing teen pregnancies, lack of male role model, increasing same-sex relationships. These problems provide a wide range of social problems e.g crime, youth subcultures, drink & drug abuse etc.
  • SOLUTIONS - return to traditional family values, less generous welfare
  • POLICIES SET UP TO 1997 - 1993 Child Support Agency: intention to force absent fathers to take responsibility, controversial & criticised, attacked fathers that already paid, saved government money rather than helping children. (mothers lost state benefits). 1988 benfits withdrawn from 16-18 year olds. Cohabiting couples could not claim more tax allowances than a married couple.
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  • FEMINISTS - form of patriarchy, attacks on single-parent families express that women belong in the home - they're not dangerous! If the welfare state is rolled back then the women will have to pick up the pieces
  • ABBOT & WALLACE - harm rather than help e.g education cuts, council housing cuts, freezing of child benefit. Government care more about reducing spending
  • MARXISTS - idealogical justification for capitalism. Poverty and inequality are not the fault of the individual; but as a result of the system
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New Labour & The Family

  • Strong emphasis on the nuclear family, "moral community", emphasis on law & education, strengthen marriage & family = "moral stability", recognition that some social change has occured, acceptance of family diversity

POLICIES - longer maternity leave, paternity leave, Woking Families Tax Credit: allowing the claiming of tax relief to enable parents to work without losing income through childcare cost, New Deal: help single parents return to paid emplyment, childcare support for single mothers, increase child benefit

CRITICISMS - patriarchal, "cereal packet family", reflect the New Right

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