Policies and Viewpoints (Family and Household)

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Policies influence family life

  • Working hours - parents spend less time with their children and have to hire care
  • School - by RPA children are made dependent on their parents for longer
  • Divorce - laws on divorce are becoming more lax meaning their are more lone parents and reconstituted families 
  • Examples: Margaret Thatcher cut child benefit in 1980, John Major Back to Basics campain, targeting lone parents, New Labour gave more rights to homosexuals (adoption rights)
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New Labour and the Family

  • Promised greater acceptance of family diversity
  • Supported lone mothers (get back to work schemes and help with childcare)
  • Gave more rights to homosexuals to adopt 
  • Overall, valued the ever changing society and moved away from tradition 
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New Right and the Family

  • Nuclear family is core within society
  • Claim policies weaken families self-relliance
  • Argue policies such as housing benefit for lone mothers offer 'perverse incentive'
  • Growth in lone parent mothers has caused huge economic problems
  • Want to cut welfare spending and tighten restrictions
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  • The nuclear family is universal, traditional and is the best family type Murdock
  • The family provides four basic and irreducible functions: sexual, reproductive, economic and education Parsons
  • Parsons also argues that the nuclear family rose to support the geographical and social mobility of industrial society 
  • We must achieve status through individual merit and become an 'isolated nuclear family'
  • Laslett and Anderson criticism
  • Criticism: idealises the family, based on American m/c, two way street between parents and children
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  • Mode of production (organisation of society) and means of production divide society
  • Private property meant that wealth could be kept within the Bourgoisie, Engels
  • Greater control over women meant that private property could be made legitimate
  • Children are socialised into succumbing to power
  • Consumer goods, keeping up with the Jones' and pester power
  • Family is a haven, made to give power to the proliteriat Zaretsky
  • Criticism: Assumption nuclear family is dominant, emphasis on capital ignores gender inequalities, ignorance of benefits of the family
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  • Liberal: gradual progress towards gender equality, studies into domestic labour
  • Marxist: capitalism causes opression, women reproduce the labour force, take part in unpaid domestic labour and maintain the generation of workers, absorb the anger of men, can be used as extra work force when needed (war) Ansley
  • Radical: society is patriarchal, solution is seperatism and political lesbianism 
  • Criticisms: focus on the negative aspects of the family, there is no alternative, black feminists say it is racism alongside patriarchy that is the problem
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