Marxist perspectives on the family

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  • Created by: Adekemi
  • Created on: 30-03-13 15:35

Introduction to Marxism

- Power in society stemmed from wealth, those who owned the means of production formed the powerful ruling class. They were able to exploit the subject class (those without the means of production) and therefore had to work for the ruling class. 

- According to Marx, society passed through several periods in which different economic systems were dominant. In the latest stage, capitalist society, the ruling class were wealthy factory owners (the bourgeoisie) and the subject class were the working-class employees.


















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Marxist perspectives on the family

-Engels (1884) argued that the family developed in order to solve the problem of inheritance of private property. The family developed so that men could be certain of the paternity of of children with men allowing them to control womens sexuality.

-Zaretsky (1976) sees the family as a prop to the capitalist system. The unpaid domestic labpur of wives support workers. The family consumes commodities produced by capitalist companies. It also provides comfort to alienated workers enabling them to carry on working.

-Poulantzas (1969) sees the family as part of the ideological state apparatus which is controlled by the bourgeoisie.






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Criticisms of Marxism

-Modern evidence contradicts the view that the family only developed after the herding of animals was introduced.

-Zaretsky has  been criticised for exaggerating the extent to which the family can escape from alienating work.

-Some families are anti-capitalist and socialize thier kids into beliefs which are critical of the ruling class.

- Functionalist criticise marxist for ignoring the functions of the family for society, feminist criticise marxist for ignoring the exploitation of women  and postmordernist criticise them for ignoring the variety of familiy types present in society today.


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