Sociology- Marxist perspective on the family

  • Created by: Daisymac
  • Created on: 01-02-19 14:28
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  • The Marxist perspective on the family
    • What?
      • Marxists see capitalist society as based on unequal conflict between the bourgeoisie and proletariat
    • Inheritance of poverty
      • In society, the bourgeoisie own and control the means of production
      • Marx called earliest, classless society 'primitive communism', where there was no society owned means of production.
      • increase in wealth->Increase in private property
        • A class of men emerged who owned the means of production -- With this change emerged the patriarchal monogamous nuclear family
      • Engles argues monogamy was essential in inheriting private property as men had to be certain of paternity of their children in order to ensure that their legitimate heir inherited them.
      • Marxists argue that overthrowing the capitalist system will give women liberation from patriarchal control.
    • Ideological functions
      • Marxists argue that the family today performs functions for capitalism.
      • EG this is done by socialising children into the idea of hierarchy and inequality are inevitable
        • Parental power over children accustoms them to the idea that there always has to be someone in charge
      • Zaretsky 1976 argues the family also performs an ideological function by offering an apparent haven from the harsh world of capitalism. However, he argues that this leads to an illusion as the family cannot meet the members needs.
    • A unit of consumption
      • The family plays a major role in generating profits for capitalists
      • Done through advertisers urging families to 'keep up with the joneses', media target children who use pester power.
    • Evaluation
      • Marxists tend to assume that the nuclear family is dominant in capitalist society. This ignores the wide variety of family structures found in society today
      • Feminists argue that marxists emphasis on class and capitalism underestimates the the importance of gender inequalities within the family.
      • Functionalists argue that Marxists ignore the very real benefits that the family provides for its members


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