SPFB #4 Perspectives on Family Social Policy: Marxism

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  • Perspectives on Family Social Policy:                       Marxism
    • For example, during the 2nd World War, when large numbers of male workers were conscripted into the armed forced, women were needed as a reserve army of labour to fill the jobs the men had left vacant in the factories
    • The capitalist bourgeoisie exploit this wage and make profits by paying them less than what they are worth which then produces conflict between classes.
    • Marxists also argue that some policies affecting families have come about because of the needs of capitalism
    • In capitalist society institutions such as education, family, etc. all contribute to maintaining exploitation and class inequality
    • According to Wilson, the government quickly set up 1450 full-time nurseries for the children of working mothers
    • To survive the working class sell their labour for a wage
    • However at the end of the war when the men had returned and women were no longer needed in the labour force,  the nurseries were closed down
    • The dominant class owns the means of production, such as factories machinery and raw materials while the working class owns nothing but its labour.
    • This prevented women from working and made them dependent on their husbands again
    • Marxists focus on conflict and conflict between classes i.e. the bourgeoisie and the proletariat
    • Unlike functionalists Marxists do not see social policies as benefitting all members of society equally. They see the state and it's policies as serving capitalism
    • Donzelot (1977)
      • Applies these ideas to the family, and proposes that social workers, health visitors and doctors use their knowledge to control and change families this is called "policing of families"
      • Like Marxists and Feminists sees policy as a form of state power over families
    • Foucault (1976)
      • In particular Foucault sees professionals such as doctors and social workers as exercising power over their clients by using their expert knowledge
      • "Concept of Surveillance" sees power as not just something held by the government or state, but as diffused (spread) throughout society and found within all relationships
    • Condry (2007)
      • Parents of young offender, truants or badly behaved children may be forced to attend parenting classes to learn the "correct" way to being up their children
      • Notes, the state may seek to control and regulate family life by imposing compulsory parenting orders though the courts
    • This shows how social policies serve the needs of capitalism and affect family relationships


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