Social policy and the family (Functionalism&New Right (func thinking…
Social policy and the family
Families are never truly fixed, they are diverse and ever changing, in terms of social policy different groups have different ideas on what families are
This influences types of policies political groups create
func thinking has influenced new right thinking which is: Strictly conservative, anti feminist, pro nuclear family and anti family diversity.
Fletcher (1966) - Families helped out by state to perform functions effectively
NR believe family should be self reliant and require minimum state help, Nuc family=Self sufficient
Much of this thinking was to oppose the William beveridge report 1942, encouraging development of welfare state.
NR critical of existing policies as they 'undermine traditional fam values'
Charles Murray - State is overgenerous and has caused development of underclass, encouraging irresponsible behaviour e.g Fathers abandoning, teenage preg&undermines marriage, benefits encourage lone partents in turn causing welfare dependant underclass
NR answer is to reduce welfare and encourage nuc family
Acc to GAO there are 1138 statutory provisions in which marital status is a factor determining benefits, rights and privileges e.g Taxation allowance changes, Child support agency and Community care policy
Despite NR is strictly conserv, NL also favours the traditional nuclear family
1 major diff is NL believe state intervention and aid actually helps family rather than encouraging dependancy.
Policies include: New deal for Lone parents 2001, Adoption reform act 2002, National minimum wage act 1998 and family tax credits
Conflict family ideology
There are some ideologies viewing family negatively
Many policies seem to benefit capitalist R/C rather than working class families
E.g Free full time nursery care in WW2 so women could work acting as reserve army of labour, they were then closed after war
Donzelot 'The policing of families' - professionals e.g doctors, teachers, social workers exercise control over clients through expert knowledge, these police families by controlling and shaping them through surveillance
Condry (2007) - courts regulate family life by imposing parental orders, parents of truants punished & forced to attend parental classes, taking focus on wider problems e,g economic inequality
Feminism and social policy
Policies based on tradit nuclear fam headed by males who perform instrumental roles meaning women should be economically dependant and care for chilren
Patriarchal policies encourage marriage and division of labour, tax& benefit policies assume that men are the main breadwinner making it difficult for wives to claim own rights
Courts assume women are main care givers meaning more likely to gain custody of children in divorce cases.
HOWEVER criticisms women ignore female orientated policies e.g domestic violence, legislation and awareness.
Leonard (1978) - policies that seem to benefit women actually benefit men more e.g maternity leave & child benefit
Familistic regimes - assume men are breadwinners who support their wives, females are carers&homemakers e.g in Greece women get little state benefit, must rely on family
Drew (1995) argues family policies promote gender regimes that can prevent or reinforce gender inequality in family.
Individualistic regimes - base policies on the idea there should be equality between couples, e.g in Sweden both partners are economically self sufficiant and equal, even in domestic duties, they also have very strong welfare system
Cross cultural differences in family social policy
China's one child policy - rapid pop growth in china lead to gov discouraging couples from having multiple children. E.g couples who comply get extra benefits such as free child healthcare, those who don't must pay back allowances and fines
Russia's family abolishment policy - during russian revolution, newly formed soviet union attempted to eradicate traditional patriarchal family structure, by making abortion and divorce easier to obtain. However they U turned during years of war and famine and promoted the family to create strong economy by making divorce laws tighter and discouraging abortion
Romania multiple child policy to stimulate pop growth by restricting contraception, abortion, creating more strict divorce laws, legal age of marriage reduced to 15.
Nazi pure family policy