Marxism in the family


Inheritance of property

Bourgeoisie own means of production, Marx called this 'primitive communism' when there was no private property. However, society's wealth began to increase and private property coincided. Men secured control over means of production which led to a patriachal monogomous nuclear family (male dominated nuclear family).

Engels - Monogamy became essential due to inheritance of property and men had to be certain of ownership in family. This came to women being believed as a 'mere instrument for the production children'.

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Ideological functions

Primary socialisation of children into the idea that hierarchy and inequality are inevitable. Family shows that someone has to be in charge, usually the man, prepares them for working life.

Zaretsky - another ideological function of the family is to provide a 'safe haven' for the harsh world of capitalism where workers can have a private life themselves. However, claims it is an illusion *** it cannot meet the need of all its members.

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A unit of consumption

Capitalism exploits its workers by making profit and family have role in consumer goods e.g. Christmas presents, keeping up with the joneses. Capitalism makes family think they need things.

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Evaluation of Marxism

Ignores family types such as same sex, lone parent.

Focuses on class inequality and ignores things such as gender e.g. women are expected to benefit males even within the family.

Functionalists would argue that it ignores the benefits of the family such as intimacy and mental support.

Evaluation of Engles - ethnocentric because sees early societies as barabaric. Some argue males and females sometimes share equality.

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