Just Sociology

Analyzing Social Policies and the Family: Perspectives and Policies Explored

Social policies and the family are two significant areas of study in sociology. Scholars have developed different theories and perspectives concerning the role of the state in responding to social problems that affect the family.

In this article, we discuss the Functionalist view of social policy and the family, which holds that society is built on harmony and consensus. This view suggests that the state should act in the interests of society as a whole by formulating social policies for the good of all.

We also analyze the Conflict Perspective that Donzelot proposes in his book, Policing the Family. According to this view, state power and control over families result in surveillance, targeting poor families, and the policing of families by social workers, health visitors, and doctors using their knowledge.

Functionalist View of Social Policy and the Family

The Functionalist view of social policy and the family posits that society is built on harmony and consensus. According to this view, shared values are the foundation of social order, and society should be free from conflicts.

This means that social policies should be formulated in such a way that they promote social harmony and prevent conflicts as much as possible. The family, in this view, is a microcosm of society, and it performs vital functions in ensuring social order.

It is, therefore, necessary for the state to intervene and support the family in performing its functions effectively.

The state acts in the interests of society as a whole by formulating policies for the good of all.

These policies are designed to support families in performing their functions effectively. For example, national health services provide support for sick members of society.

Social policies also help families to perform their functions by providing education, health care, and welfare services. The provision of these services helps to create a stable and harmonious society.

One of the most significant ways in which social policy supports families is through the provision of public services. The state provides public services such as education, health care, and welfare to ensure that families can provide for their basic needs.

For instance, the National Health Service (NHS) in the United Kingdom provides health care services to all citizens. This means that families can access medical care when they need it, regardless of their financial status.

Likewise, the education system provides access to knowledge and skills needed to function effectively in society.

Conflict Perspective: Policing the Family

The Conflict Perspective that Donzelot proposes in Policing the Family focuses on the power and control that the state exerts over families.

According to this view, the state uses its power to police families by subjecting them to surveillance and control. The state monitors and regulates family affairs through social workers, health visitors, and doctors.

These professionals collect information on families and use this knowledge to control their behavior.

Social workers, health visitors, and doctors use their knowledge to target poor families and police them.

These professionals implement policies that reinforce traditional family roles and discourage deviant behavior. According to Donzelot, the state uses its power to reinforce gender roles and traditional family structures.

The state, therefore, imposes social norms on families by encouraging certain behaviors and discouraging others.

Conclusion

In conclusion, social policies and the family are critical areas of study in sociology. The Functionalist view of social policy emphasizes that society is built on harmony and consensus.

This view suggests that social policies should be formulated to promote social harmony and support families in performing their functions effectively. The Conflict Perspective that Donzelot proposes in Policing the Family emphasizes the power and control that the state exerts over families.

This view suggests that the state uses its power to police families by subjecting them to surveillance and control. While these views may diverge, they offer valuable insights into the relationship between social policies and the family.Social policies play an essential role in shaping the family, society, and the state.

Sociologists have developed various theories regarding the relationship between social policies and the family. This article focuses on two more perspectives:

The New Right and Social Policy, which emphasizes family self-reliance, and

Feminism and Social Policy, which argues for gender equality and challenges patriarchy.

In this expansion, we analyze both these perspectives and the policies associated with them in detail.

The New Right and Social Policy

The New Right refers to a right-wing political movement that emerged in the late 1970s and early 1980s. The New Right emphasizes the importance of traditional family values and highlights the importance of individual responsibility and self-reliance.

According to this view, society is composed of a series of autonomous individuals, and individuals should take responsibility for their own lives, including their economic welfare.

The New Right is supportive of the traditional nuclear family, where the male is the provider and the female is the homemaker.

It argues that this family type is the best way to ensure that individuals take responsibility for their own welfare. The New Right views state intervention through social policies as a negative thing.

State intervention results in generous welfare benefits that undermine the self-reliance of families. The New Right criticizes policies that undermine family self-reliance.

Generous welfare benefits, according to this view, provide perverse incentives that discourage people from working hard and encourage them to take advantage of the welfare state. This, in turn, encourages dependency, undermines self-reliance, and contributes to the breakdown of the traditional family.

The New Right supports policies designed to prevent perverse incentives. For example, cuts in welfare benefits are seen as a way to encourage people to take responsibility for their own lives.

The Child Support Agency is another example of a policy designed to prevent perverse incentives. It enforces the payment of child support by absent parents, which in turn, encourages couples to stay together and take responsibility for their own family.

Feminism and Social Policy

Feminism is a movement that emerged in the late 19th century and has evolved into various forms, including liberal and radical feminism. Feminism has played an important role in shaping social policy, particularly those related to gender equality.

Feminism focuses on the role of women in society, including their experiences, perspectives, and contributions.

Liberal Feminists support policies that promote gender equality.

They advocate for equal pay for equal work and support the Equal Pay Act. This policy provides women with the same pay as their male counterparts for the same job.

Liberal Feminists also support maternity leave and pay to ensure that mothers can take time off work to care for their newborns. The promotion of gender equality is a key priority for liberal feminists to ensure equal opportunities for women as men in society.

Radical Feminists, on the other hand, argue that patriarchy is deeply entrenched in society, and women’s oppression is the result. Patriarchy refers to the distribution of power that favors men over women.

It is present in various structures, from the family to the state. Radical Feminists argue that women face a dual burden or triple shift in society, where they are responsible for both domestic work and paid work.

Domestic violence is another issue that is closely related to radical feminism. Feminists argue that domestic violence is both a cause and a result of gender inequalities.

Domestic violence is a manifestation of male power over women and can take various forms, including physical, emotional, and sexual abuse. Policies to reduce domestic violence include shelters, hotlines, and legal measures to protect women and children from abusive partners.

Conclusion

Social policies play an essential role in shaping society, including the family. The New Right emphasizes family self-reliance and the traditional nuclear family.

It argues that state intervention through social policies undermines family self-reliance and results in perverse incentives. Feminism, on the other hand, focuses on gender equality and challenges patriarchy.

Liberal Feminists support policies that promote gender equality, while Radical Feminists argue that patriarchy is entrenched in society and contributes to women’s oppression. The policies associated with these life perspectives provide powerful tools to evaluate social policies and their impact on society.New Labour was in power in the United Kingdom from 1997 to 2010.

During this period, the party implemented significant changes to family policy. These policies were aimed at promoting family diversity, prioritizing children’s well-being over welfare dependency, and taking a positive view of state intervention to improve the lives of families.

This expansion discusses these policies in more detail.

New Labour and Family Policy

New Labour favored family diversity and expanded the legal recognition and rights of same-sex couples. In 2005, the Civil Partnership Act allowed same-sex couples to acquire legal recognition and rights similar to heterosexual couples through civil partnerships.

This policy paved the way for marriage equality legislation in 2013.

Further, New Labour reformulated adoption laws to allow same-sex couples to adopt children.

This policy was seen as a significant step towards promoting diversity and inclusivity in family policy. The emphasis on family diversity reflected the party’s view that society was changing, and policies needed to reflect this change.

New Labour prioritized children’s well-being over welfare dependency. The party’s objective was to promote self-reliance and support those who could not support themselves.

This meant that adequate housing and money were provided for single mothers and long-term unemployed families. The party believed that these measures would help promote self-sufficiency and reduce dependency on welfare benefits.

The government also focused on child poverty reduction as the basis for promoting children’s well-being. The aim was to provide support for families, including access to health, education, and employment, to help lift them out of poverty.

In 1999, the government introduced the Sure Start program, aimed at supporting families with young children. The program provided family centers that offered health care, advice, and support to families.

New Labour took a positive view of state intervention to improve the lives of families. The party believed that the government had a responsibility to ensure the well-being and safety of families.

In 2007, the Department for Children, Schools, and Families was formed to take a holistic approach to family policy. The department’s objective was to promote well-being and safety through policies aimed at enhancing children’s experiences in the home, school, and community.

In addition, the department was responsible for promoting health, social care, and education for children and families. The Children’s Plan, launched in 2007, reflected the party’s commitment to promoting the role of the state in the lives of families.

The plan was aimed at improving the health, education, and well-being of children and young people in England.

Conclusion

New Labour’s approach to family policy prioritized family diversity and children’s well-being over welfare dependency. The party took a positive view of state intervention to improve the lives of families, and the Department for Children, Schools, and Families was created to implement this approach.

Through policies aimed at promoting self-sufficiency and reducing dependency on welfare benefits, New Labour aimed to improve the lives of families in the UK. Same-sex couples were given legal recognition and adoption rights, promoting diversity in family policy.

The party’s focus on children’s well-being underscored the importance of providing support for families and promoting access to health, education, and employment. Overall, New Labour’s family policies aimed to enhance the experiences of families in society while promoting self-sufficiency and a positive view of state intervention.

In conclusion, social policies play an integral role in shaping families, society, and the state, and sociologists have developed various theories regarding the relationship between them. This article has analyzed four perspectives- The Functionalist, The Conflict Perspective, the New Right, and Feminism – on social policies and the family, along with their associated policies.

These perspectives and policies provide powerful tools for evaluating and understanding how social policies impact families and society. By understanding these theories and policies, we can develop a better understanding of the role of social policies in shaping the family and society.

FAQs:

1. What is the Functionalist perspective on social policy and the family?

The Functionalist view of social policy and the family posits that society is built on harmony and consensus, and the state should intervene to support families in performing their functions effectively. 2.

What is the Conflict Perspective on social policy and the family? The Conflict Perspective argues that state power and control over families result in surveillance and the policing of families by social workers, health visitors, and doctors using their knowledge.

3. What is the New Right view on social policy?

The New Right emphasizes the importance of traditional family values and highlights the importance of individual responsibility and self-reliance. 4.

What is Feminism’s role in social policy? Feminism focuses on the role of women in society, including their experiences, perspectives, and contributions, and challenges patriarchy to promote gender equality in social policies.

5. What is New Labour’s approach to family policy?

New Labour prioritizes family diversity and children’s well-being over welfare dependency, taking a positive view of state intervention to promote self-sufficiency, and reduce welfare benefits’ perverse incentives.

Popular Posts