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
HOW DOES THIS APPLY TO THE FAMILY?
- 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
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
FEMINISTS ARGUE THAT THIS...
- Assumes womens involvement in childcare
- School hours/holidays = difficult for both parents to be employed
- Lack of state assistance for the elderly
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 (mothers lost state benefits). 1988 benfits withdrawn from 16-18 year olds.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.
- 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
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