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  • Level: GCSE
  • Subject: History
  • Essay length: 1108 words

Assess to what extent does social policy reflect on the traditional nuclear family

Extracts from this essay...


Assess to which extent social policies reflect and support the traditional nuclear family Social policy is the package of measures taken to solve a social problem. I intend to assess the New Right and New Left, the taxation law, the Child Support Agency, the fact that the government encourages families to look after themselves, and that 16- 18 year olds don't get job seekers allowance. The New Right is traditional. It supports the nuclear family and is for being economically independent, not relying on the state. The New Right is associated with the right-wing Conservative policies of the Thatcher government in Britain and that of Reagen in the USA. Key New Right beliefs about the family- Rapoport (1989): * Based on heterosexual marriage between 2 parents. * The 'building block' of society. * Essential to social stability. * Separate roles performed by men and women according to their biology. * Two parents and strong discipline needed in families, to prevent the clash of social order. * All other arrangements are 'deviant' and therefore threat society.


A certain New Right Policy encourages families to look after themselves- extension of 'community care' policy- in practice meaning care by family members, mainly women- e.g. grandparents moving in with children - family expected to support the grandparents. This is making the families be more economically independent- not relying on the state. This reflects the nuclear family in the way that the nuclear family is economically independent. Another New Right Policy is, from 1988, benefits were withdrawn from 16- 18 year olds, forcing families to maintain unemployed teenagers. This makes them totally economically dependent on their parents, however ensuring that they are not at all dependent on the state, once again reflecting the traditional nuclear family as it is economically independent. The New Left (New Labour) supports the traditional nuclear family, however recognises that social change has occurred, here is a summary of the New Left: * Policies were not so critical of other arrangements as those of the Thatcher/ Major (New Right) governments. * However, still a strong emphasis on the nuclear family.


* Help with childcare for single mothers. This shows that they feel that single mothers can depend on the state, which does not reflect the nuclear family as the nuclear family does not depend on the state. Although the New Left may seem not to reflect and support the nuclear family as much as the New Right, the New Left Policies are accused of reflecting too closely the New Right agenda on the family. From what I have found from writing this essay, I would have to say that social policies mainly reflect and support the traditional nuclear family, as all of the New Right Policies I researched support the traditional nuclear family, such as benefits to married couples, as opposed to cohabiting couples, as it encourages couples to get married to have these benefits. Despites the changes in the New Left to that of the New Right, many feminists see their view of the family as patriarchal and backward- which reflects the traditional nuclear family. So as a conclusion, I feel that social policies greatly reflect and support the traditional nuclear family.

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