Marxist Theories of the Family

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  • Created by: Ben
  • Created on: 12-05-13 17:45
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  • Marxist theories of the family
    • Introduction to Marxism
      • Marx and Engels - power in society is stemmed from wealth.
      • Those who owned the means of production created a ruling class
      • This ruling class exploited the subject class
    • Economic systems
      • Capitalist society/ruling class/bourgeoisie exploited the working  class/subject class/poletrariat.
      • In capitalism the bourgeoisie kept surplus value/the profit.
    • The economic base and superstructure
      • The means of production formed the economic base or infastructure of society.
      • As the bourgeoisie controlled the economic base they were able to control other non-economic institutions of society which made up the superstructure.
    • Marxist perspectives
      • Engels - the family developed so that men could be  certain of the paternity of children, with marriage allowing them to control women sexually. This enabled confidence in passing property down to offspring.
      • Zaretsky - family as prop of capitalist system. Unpaid domestic labour of house wives supports future generations of capitalist workers. the family also consumes capitalist commodities helping make profits. This alienates workers to carry on working
      • Cooper - the family as an ideological conditioning device in which children learn to conform to authority so they will become cooperative and easily exploited workers.
    • Criticisms of Marxism
      • Some families are anti-capitalist
      • Feminists criticize Marxist as not noticing the exploitation of women with in the family.
      • Zaretsky is criticized for over exaggerating the alienation of men at work within the capitalist system.
    • Benefits of Marxism
      • Highlights the economic influences on family life.
      • Raises the possibility that the family is being exploited by other social groups.


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