Theoretical Perspectives on the Family


  • Marxist
  • Feminism
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  • Created by: rachel
  • Created on: 04-12-08 21:48


Marx's friend Engels (1820-95) wrote alot about the family. He argued that capitalists became rich, they needed to ensure they passed their property onto their right heir, especially their first-born son. The nuclear family and faithful relationships were an attempt to control women's sexual behaviour. This was before DNA testing for paternity was availiable, which enabled men to be as certain as possible that their son was their own.

Other marxist veiws on family already discussed include the arguments put forward by Marxist feminists such as Ansley and Benston. And also Marxist Radical psychiatrist David Cooper.

Cooper (1972) takes a more marxist approach to the family and focuses particuarly on how children are treated. He argues parents teach children to be obidient, so when they go to work they are easily controlled. Parents make children aim at getting 'respectable jobs', and any dreams are stamped upon. Parents and like capitalists or bosses, and the children become the proletrait or workers.

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Black Feminism

Often critical of other feminists. Argue that most white femists tend to group all women together and ignore the ethnis difference that exists between women. For example:

  • African- Carribean women are more likely to be single parents than white or asian women.
  • Asian women may experience more patriarchy in their families than white women, and may have to do more housework and childcare. They may also have more religious and cultural responsibilities than other groups. Arranged marriage may also be an issue.
  • Black feminists argue that for many women their ethnicity is at least as important as their gender.
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