Marxist views of family

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In many ways, Marxism and Functionalism say very similar things about families, both recognise that the family passes on ideas and values and both see family members as part of an economic unit. The real area of difference is that while functionalists believe families are good for society, Marxits suggest that they are bad for people and for society.

Marxists tend to argue that the purpose of the family is to:

  • Socialise children into the norms of captialist society through their acceptance that the father is dominant and in control. Thus they learn that different people have power and they have none. Althusser, a french Marxist, argued that families taught children to accept inequality.
  • Ensure that women are controlled. Their work is unpaid, but they support workers and that benefits capitalism.
  • Work is stressful and unpleasant, so working men can relieve their frustrations in the family.
  • The family is a unit of consumption, families purchase goods and services and this supports capitalism.

In the Marxist view of the family, the family is for…


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