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The New Right
Let’s take a look at how the New Right view families…….
Modernism & the Nuclear Family
Modernism refers to the notion that society is fixed, structured, rigid & predictable. In this type of society it is suggested by perspectives such as Functionalism that the Nuclear Family ‘fits’ this structure better than other types of family structures
Functionalist thinking has influenced New Right political thinking which is strictly conservative, anti-feminist & stresses the importance of the Nuclear Family & the dangers of family diversity.
> Marriage is Essential to Social Stability
> The Nuclear Family is ‘Natural’ (Based on Biological Differences between Males & Females)
> Trends in Marriage, Divorce, Same Sex Couples etc show that society is breaking down.
> The Nuclear Family is the Cornerstone of society
> Traditional ValuesMale Breadwinners & Female Homemakers (Instrumental & Expressive)
> Lone-Parents are unnatural & harmful to society.
> Over-Generous Welfare State means that lone-parents are able to flourish.
> Family Diversity erodes societies structure and key values
‘Quite frankly, I don’t think that mothers have the same right to go out to work as fathers do. If the good Lord had intended us to have equal rights to go out to work, he would not have created men and women. These are biological facts’
Conservative politician, Patrick Jenkin
What are your views on the above?
Click here to see NSPCC statistics on Child Abuse
Charles Murray argues that none-traditional types of families are to blame for educational failure, high crime rates, low employment, health problems & the ‘dependence culture’ i.e. dependence on welfare & benefits
Murray argues that an ‘Under-Class’ has formed which is to blame for the majority of society’s problems (Particularly poor Child rearing practices). This Under-Class is made up primarily of Lone-Parent families.
Link to Social Policy. New Right Family Policy focuses on reducing benefits and welfare, encouraging marriage & putting pressure on fathers to work to support their family’s – above all they encourage traditional values & nuclear families.
Despite these ‘traditionalist’, ‘old-fashioned’ views, New Right thinking has been very influential in western societies.
These type of ideas have been extremely influential in western societies & have established the notion that the Nuclear Family is the ‘normal’, ‘ideal’ type of family in society…… this has led to the concept of the ‘Cereal Packet Family’.
It is of course important to evaluate this way of thinking. How could these views be critiqued in general?
(See notes on Feminism & Couples)
Critique of New Right Perspective:
They also argue that New Right arguments are based on little research and do not represent a true picture of family life.
Marriage is not always ‘Functional’
Feminists point out how the ‘Traditional Nuclear Family’ is based on Patriarchal Ideals
Assumes that only Nuclear Families can be ‘Functional’
Ignores some people cannot work & therefore must rely on the welfare state.
It is crucial here to look at the increasing diversity of families here (remember, New Right traditionalists are very critical of family diversity)
Ethnocentric – has been accused of forcing western ideals onto minority cultures.
Ignores the ‘Darker Side of Family Life’ (see notes on Domestic Violence)