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New Right view of the family Cheat Sheet by

wjec As understanding sociology


-socio­logists have been divided on the issues of the New Rights view of the family.
-polit­ically and ideolo­gic­ally, the NR were at their most influe­ntial during the 80's and 90's.
-the main sociol­ogical supporter for the NR is Charles Murray who claims that the nuclear family is the idea family type,
-the NR theory corres­ponds with functi­ona­lists views of the family, often referred to as an updated version of functi­ona­lists thinking.


-to conclude, the general shared idea of the NR is that the Nuclear Family is the ideal family form and is more likely to cost the state less.
-outdated idea as there are man different family types.
-has been very influe­nctial in terms of influe­ncing government thinking.


-does not take into account the varied experi­ences of people with non-tr­adi­tional families whoe value their relati­onship.

nuclear family is ideal

New Right thinkers believe that the nuclear family is the ideal family type
-Murdock believes that compared to other family types such as the extended and single parent families, nuclear families support society the most as it consists of instru­mental and expressive roles. instru­mentsl roles provid­efi­nancial support and establ­ishes family status.
-Charles Murray believes that the tradit­ional nuclear family is the best type of family. He went on to claim that the tradit­ional nuclear family is threatened by the welfare state and when referring to unplanned pregnacy he believes that young women have babies in order to gain money from the welfare state.
-Thus, the NR view of the family is they believe that children should have a mother and father in order for the family to be stable and for children to be properly social­ised. They are critical of other family forms, in particular lone mothers. They believe that children of single parents families grow up to be lazy, benefit dependent and criminal
critisms: can be critisised as society is changing and different family types are more common, as well as this most single parents are not welfare scroun­gers, most want to work but find it hard to find jobs that are flexible enough so they can balance work and childcare.

welfare state leads to a culture of dependancy

New Right thinkers believe the state is leading to a culture of depend­ancy.
-Society now finds it easier to accept the benefits rather than go out to work.
-Charles Murray refers to the term 'under­class' as being caused by single parenting, consisting of people who live on benefits and make no efforts to get a job.
-he believed young women have babies in order to gain moneyfrom the welfare state, which meant that young men did not have to take respon­sib­ility for father­hood.
-thus, they believe the welfare state is being exploited and misused by certain people in society, partic­ulary the subclass known as the 'under­class' and this creates a generation of people who are socialised by their family to do the same.
critis­isms: other sociol­ogical parties argue that the New Right 'blames victims' and stigma­tizes the parent families, blaming them for the problems such as unempl­oyment and growing crime rates in young people. There is also limited research to show that women get pregnant to show that young women get pregnant for housing.

women are expressive and men are dominant

New Right thinkers belive it is natural for men to be dominant and women to be expres­sive.
-like functi­onalist the NR view the nuclear family is 'natural and based on fundem­ental biological differ­ences between men and women. They believe ideally see the wifeshould stay home and look after the children (expre­ssive) whilst the husband works (instr­ume­ntal).
-Halsey and Dennis recognise the problem of single parenting and partic­ulary the problems of absent fathers, they believe unempl­oyment has affected the 'bread­winner' role.
-Dennis and Erdos argues that boys with absent fathers grow up without a male role model and therefore lacks primary social­isation into the tradit­ional male role.
-thus, NR thinkers believe that in order to be stable the family must have a male thinker, especially families with young boys so they can adopt tradit­ional roles
critisism: feminists would argue that the tradit­ional gender roles are oppressive to women. Gender roles are socially constr­ucted rather than being fixed biology.

policies that promote the nuclear family

the New Right supports social policies that favour the tradit­ional two parent family structure.
-it believes that it is possible to reverse the decrease in nuclear family by implem­enting the following policies: 1, removing or cutting down on welfare benefits for single parent families and unempl­ooyed people 2, making it difficult to obtain a divorce.
-this would force more people to seek employment and stop relying on the state
- teenage pregna­ncies and single parent families would decrease due to the lack of incentives e.g benefits
-addit­ion­ally, more couples are likely to stay together if divorce is difficult.
-these factors will prevent poverty, crime and reliance on benefits
Critis­isms: NR has had a negative influence on government policy so that it is more difficult for people to get benefits and see the benefi­t-d­epe­ndent in bad light.

lone parents are unatural

lone parenthood is unatural and harmful to children, as well as divorce.
-New Right thinkers belive that children should be cared for by two parents with clear division of roles in a stable household.
-breakdown od the nuclear family causes social problems for example crime, poverty and become over-r­eliant on the welfare state and a decline in morality.
-they also belive if it becomes easier to get abonded, this will lead to higher rates of other family forms.
-Dennis and Erdos belive that boys with absent fathers will have poorer health and worse life choices.
-Benson and McKay says that mental health problems are more prelevant in children with seperated parents.
-Thus, NR thinkers believe in order for society to work harmon­iously, nuclear families should be the most common family type, this is because they are an agent of social­isa­tion.
Critis­isms: NR assumes that a two parents family does not have any negative aspects at all. They ignore the dark side of the family. Children can still be signif­icantly adversity affected if both parents still live together but are in constant conflict or an empty shell marriage.


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