Marxism and the family

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  • Marxism and the family
    • Inheritance of property
      • Marx and Engels
        • Argue that, as wealth increases and private property becomes more important, men need to ensure it is passed down to their sons.
        • Only through patriarchal, monogamous relationships can the nuclear family ensure that their home/ capital is passed on to the correct heirs
    • Ideological functions
      • Ideology= a set of ideas/ beliefs that justify inequality and maintain the capitalist system by persuading people that it is natural/ fair
        • Nuclear family supports the capitalist system
      • When children are socialised they are taught to accept their position in society- inequality is inevitable
      • They are taught the hierarchy of the system- hierarchy is inevitable
    • Zaretsky
      • The family performs an ideological function, offering the worker a 'haven' from the harsh exploitive world of capitalism
    • The family is a 'Unit of consumption'
      • The family is an important market for the sale of consumer goods.
      • Children are targeted as consumers. They have 'pester power'. Children are stigmatized for not having the latest fashion trends.
    • Criticisms
      • Many women work and don't need to marry and conceive for protection
      • Ignores other family types, too focused on the nuclear family
      • Ignores the positive 'functions' that a family can play
      • Feminists argue that it doesn't look at patriarchy enough


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