Marxist Perspectives of the Family

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  • Created by: Sadia
  • Created on: 05-11-12 17:33
What is Marxism?
a structural theory (behaviour is directed by the social structure)
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Marxist theory suggest that society is in a state of conflict between the rich and the poor.
Capitalism is an economic system based on the private ownership of businesses: bourgeoisie.
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Class inequality is reproduced and maintained through primary socialisation in the family.
The family is a result of class conflict, which is maintained thorugh systems such as inheritance.
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The family is a tool used by the capitalist system to produce a cheap workforce.
The nuclear family is an ideological apparatus (an institution which transmits bourgeoisie ideas), promoting capitalist values and ways of thinking which reproduce and maintain capitalism.
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The family reproduces the capitalist system in the following ways:
transmits capitalists values: teaching family members to be passive and submit to authority (husband), which prepares them for later submission to authority in the workplace.
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reproduces the future labour force: by giving birth to workers and socialising them. The family is dependant on the wages of male family members.
the family provides a refuge for tired and frustrated male workers, providing an outlet for these frustrations- the alienation felt by male workers is released onto the family, rather than the capitalist system.
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Friedrich Engels- 'The Origin of the Family, Private Property & the State' (1884)
German socialist who introduced a historical analysis of the origins of the family; connecting the family to the evolution of classes, property & the state- as the means of production changed, so too did the family.
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According to Engels, the modern nuclear family developed in capitalist society. As the male role developed into more specialised activities, men gained more control over wealth & property.
Capitalist society brought the introduction of inheritance throught the male line to ensure that men maintained possession of their wealth and property.
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Key for capitalists was to make sure their wealth was passed on to a legitimate heir-
the monogamous nuclear family supported this because when there was no DNA testing available, the nuclear family left no doubts over the paternity of children, so a man could be pretty certain that he had legitimate children to inherit his wealth.
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Eli Zaretsky (1976)
Zaretsky sees the family as a major prop to the capitalist system- the capitalist economy is based on the domestic labour of housewives who reproduces future workers.
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Criticims of Marxism
1) Is capitalist society really that unjust? 2) Focus on the economic role of the family- what about family roles? 3) Focus on class conflict; Marxists fail to consider other factors such as ethnicity.
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Card 2

Front

Capitalism is an economic system based on the private ownership of businesses: bourgeoisie.

Back

Marxist theory suggest that society is in a state of conflict between the rich and the poor.

Card 3

Front

The family is a result of class conflict, which is maintained thorugh systems such as inheritance.

Back

Preview of the back of card 3

Card 4

Front

The nuclear family is an ideological apparatus (an institution which transmits bourgeoisie ideas), promoting capitalist values and ways of thinking which reproduce and maintain capitalism.

Back

Preview of the back of card 4

Card 5

Front

transmits capitalists values: teaching family members to be passive and submit to authority (husband), which prepares them for later submission to authority in the workplace.

Back

Preview of the back of card 5
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