New Right Movement


New Right introduction

The New Right perspective of the family is extremely similar to the functionalist view. 

  • Established in the 1980s during Margaret Thatcher's Prime Ministerial reign by Charles Murray.
  • A group with shared political and moral views on what the family should be. 
  • Extreme clashes with feminism 

Viewpoints - 

  • the nuclear family is what is best for society - single-parent families are a burden to society. Children of two married parents tend to do better socially, economically and emotionally.
  • Believe there must be 2 parents in the family as the male is required to be the breadwinner of the family - without this, the mother will be required to rely upon benefits which is a burden to the state.
  • Social trends such as divorce and rising divorce rates lead to a rise in crime due to the derailment of the nuclear family and its structure and therefore other social issues.
  • Welfare benefit payments are too high and this creates a 'culture of dependency' - encourages an underclass to develop. 
  • Women should be responsible for loving and caring for the children (expressive) and men should be the breadwinners of the family (instrumental).
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Welfare state

Welfare benefits are too high. 

culture of dependency is formed by these high benefits and therefore an underclass is created within society which has little or no interest in working for a living. 

Three main groups of underclass - defined as the New Rabble

  • the long-term unemployed
  • welfare dependent
  • single mothers

Murray and the New Right believe single mothers should not receive generous benefits because it encourages them to bring up children outside of traditional nuclear families.

New Right argue the children of 'parentally deprived homes' are more likely to engage in antisocial behaviour and be on benefits, as their parents were.

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Social policies

New Right have influenced the social policies of both Labour and Conservative governments. They have both made it more difficult for people in society to claim and receive benefits. 

New Right inspired social policies like the Child Support Agency which aims to force absent fathers into paying for the children they have abandoned therefore the state will not have to. 

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New Right views on modern day societal changes

Abortion - women who get pregnant should have the baby and be responsible for raising it. 

Illegitimate births - women and men should get married before she even considers getting pregnant. 

Cohabitation - women and men should be married before living together. 

Divorce - married couples should work through their marital problems as marriage is for life.

Lone-parent families - should not exist. Parents should be married with children. 

Mothers working full time - women should be at home with the children, leaving the financial burden to the males.

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Criticisms of the New Right movement

The New Right are often blamed for "blaming the victims of social problems and not offering real and lasting solutions". 

The New Right tend to view single parent families negatively, failing to acknowledge that many nuclear families fail to socialise their children properly.

Feminists would argue New Right views under-estimate the ability for a woman to be the main breadwinner. In modern days, it is rare for families to rely on a single, male wage. 

Feminists would also argue divorce isn't necessarily a negative thing - lone-parent families encourage female empowerment and allow people to be happy - something they often are not in nuclear families. 

The New Right believe delinquency and lone-parent families (absence of a breadwinner) are the reasons behind bad schooling results - how do they know it is not poverty? 

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Clashes with feminism

The New Right Movement tends to clash the most with feminism - they have very different ideas about the rise in single parent families in society. 

Feminists view the single-parent family as empowering to the female - they do not need the male in their life to fund them and it proves women in the family are headstrong. 

92% of lone mothers claim not to have become deliberately pregnant - society is unforgiving to them. Lone-parent families are also safer for most women than the nuclear family.

New Right believe -

  • Lone parent families scrounge from the government
  • Lone parent families are an evil product of modern day society 
  • Boys can only be socialised by firm/caring fathers

Feminists believe - 

  • Women who head lone-parent families are punished by society
  • Women and children are safer in lone-parent family situations than in an abusive, patriarchal household
  • Women can raise children well without a father figure
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Lone parent families

New Right argues that never-married lone mothers who are reliant on the state for financial aid bear a strong responsibility for undermining society. 

Children are 'harmed' when there is no father to provide a role-model status within the family. There is also no father for financial support and there is minimal socialisation to teach children the value consensus of society that help social-order to remain. 

Traditional responsibilities of the male have been removed when lone-parent families exist as the lone-parents of society know that they can rely upon state aid

This has led to a generation of men who know they do not need to become fathers even if they have children. They will be more likely to turn to antisocial behaviour. The mothers have no incentive to work as they receive housing and government support.

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