Theoretical Perspectives on Family Policy



- Part of a bigger debate in sociology as to whether or not sociology should be used to inform social policy.

- Ideological concerns over the use of social policy to control the population and reinforce inequalities in society.

- Political approaches to family policy from the Conservative government through to the New Labour and current governments. 

Functionalist Perspectives on Family Policy

- Functionalists such as Parsons advocated reinforcing the nuclear family through social policies such as tax incentives for married people.

- However, functionalists also suggest limited state involvement in the running of the family, however, this is not necessary if society is functioning correctly.

- Traditional values are in opposition to some of the more progressive policies of recent years, such as same-sex marriage.

Marxist Perspectives on Family Policy

- Critical role of the state in creating social policy, suggesting that they are designed to serve the needs of the elites in society, e.g childcare policies will enable more people to work.

- The state can effectively 'police the family' according to Donzelot, by intervening where they believe that the family is not socialising children correctly.

- State policy is based upon ruling class ideologies and those that do not conform face sanctions.

Feminist Perspectives on Family Policy

- The state reinforces patriarchal control through introducing policies that are…


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