#66 Social Policy and the Family

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  • Created by: Muy
  • Created on: 16-04-13 23:04

Social policies

  • Measures taken by states bodies such as schools, based on legislation introduced by government
  • Effects on family can be both direct/indirect
  • Direct effects - aimed specifically at family life e.g. laws on divorce 
  • Indirect effects - policies on social/economic issues which also affect the family e.g. compulsory schooling keeps children economically dependant 
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Perspectives on policy and the family

  • Functionalists - societies is based on value consensus, the state acts in the interests of society as a whole -> Policies help families perform its functions e.g. socialising children
  • Functionalists assume policies benefit everyone, which isnt the case i.e. cutting benefits
  • March of Progress - policies gradually improve family life e.g. welfare state or the NHS
  • New Right - oppose state intervention in family life, the nuclear family is natural and biological -> if parents perform their respectve roles properly they'll be self reliant... family diversity is damaging to children
  • New right believe welfare policies undermine families self reliance creating a dependancy culture
  • Murray (New Right) - interprets welfare as rewarding irresponsible behavior e.g. abandonment of fathers
  • BY CUTTING welfare it'll provide incentive for the breadwinner to work for their families
  • New Labour - it favours the nuclear family and it prefers means tested benefits rather than universal welfare -> HOWEVER its more accepting of diversity e.g. introduced civil partnerships and benefits targeted at the poor
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Perspectives on policy and the family #2

  • Feminists - social policies define family life in ways benefiting men by maintaining patriarchy, this subordinates women
  • Feminists criticised the New Right as attempting to justify the patriarchal nuclear family -> it is socially constructed
  • Land - policies assume patriarchal families are the norm, policies help reproduce this nuclear family e.g. maternity leave is longer reinforcing the expressive role of the mother
  • Not all policies maintain patriarchy, e.g. laws against **** in marriage passed in 1991
  • Marxists - policies serve the interests of capitalism e.g. low benefits for the old since they can no longer be exploited to produce profits
  • Policies affecting families often results from capitalisms needs...
  • -> e.g. in WW2 women were needed as a reserve army of labour so the government set up nursuries to allow them to work
  • -> the end of war meant women wernt required so these nursuries were closed forcing them back to being economically dependant on their husbands
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