Marxists

A mind map to show all you need to know about Marxists for Unit 1 AS sociology

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  • MARXISTS
    • PERSPECTIVES
      • Marxists see society as based on an unequal conflict between two social classes
        • The working class
        • The capitalist class
      • The functions of the family are performed purely for the benefit of the capitalist system
      • Marxists see all societies institutions, such as the educational system, media, religion and the state; along with the family helping to maintain class inequalities and capitalism
    • INHERITANCE OF PROPERTY
      • I modern society, it is the capitalist class that owns and controls these means of production
      • The key factor, according to Marxists, in shaping society is the mode of production who controls and owns societies productive forces (tools, machinery, raw materials, land and labour
      • As the mode of production evolves, so does the family
    • Marx called the earliest, classless society "primitive communism"
      • All members of society owned the means of production communally
      • No private property
      • No family as such - Engles (1891, 1978) called the promiscuous horde
        • Forces of production developed --> societies wealth increased
        • Development of private property
        • Class emerged who were able to seize the means of production
    • ENGLES
      • Monogamy became essential because of the inheritance of private property - men had to be sure of the paternity of their children to ensure the inheritance was legitamate
      • The rise of the monogamous nuclear family represented a "world historical defeat of the female sex" - brought the woman's sexuality under male control and turned her into a "mere instrument for the production of children"
    • EMANCIPATION
      • Marxists argue that only through the overthrow of capitalism and private ownership of the means of production will women achieve liberation from patriarchal control
      • Classlessness - means of production are owned collectively, not privately
      • No more need for the patriarchal nuclear family (no need to transmit private property down the generation)
    • IDEOLOGICAL FUNCTIONS
      • Family today performs key ideological functions for capitalism
        • Ideological - set of ideas or beliefs that justify inequality by accepting things are "fair", natural or unchangeable
      • Socialising children into believing hierarchy and inequality are inevitable
        • There is usually someone in charge (usually a man)
        • Prepared for a working life in which they accept orders from their capitalist employers
    • ZARETSKY (1979)
      • The family also performs an ideological function by offering an apparent "haven" from the harsh and exploitive world of capitalism
        • This, however, is largely and illusion - the family cannot meet the needs of its members (based on the domestic servitude of women)
    • A UNIT OF CONSUMPTION
      • Capitalism exploits the labour of its workers --> selling the products for more than the pay of the workers
      • The family plays a major role in this
        • The media target children who use "pester power" --> tweens
        • Advertisers urge families to consume the latest products
        • Stigmatisation of children if they do not have the latest fashion
    • CRITICISMS
      • Feminists argue that the Marxist emphasis on social class and capitalism underestimates the importance of gender inequalities within the family --> the family is more beneficial to men than capitalism
      • Marxists assume the nuclear family is dominant --> ignores the wide variety of family structures
      • Functionalists argue that Marxists ignore the benefits the family provides for its members such as intimacy and mutual support

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