Assess the contribution of Marxism to our understanding of families and households (24 marks) Marxists have very different views on the family compared to other key sociologists. They believe that the only purpose of the family is to feed back into the capitalist society. Marxists see all society’s institutions as helping to maintain class inequality and Capitalism. Marists views have been criticised by other sociologists that believe the family does not only benefit society but the members of the family themselves. Marxist believes that society is in a state of conflict between the bourgeoisie and the proletariat.
Marx argues that the ideologies in the superstructure cover up the inequalities of society; he argues that these ideologies justify inequality because they are not neutral and therefore they serve the interests of the ruling class. Marx argues that the education system is like the workforce as it teaches us to be docile workers and accept that inequality is inevitable. Bowles and Gintis support Marx’s traditional view of the link between education and the nature of work in Capitalist societies. They argue that the education system integrate people into various aspects of the capitalist production process. The organisation of the education system mirrors the work force in many ways such as disciplining students to the demands of work- something they call ‘the crucial ingredient of job adequacy’.
However, Gramsci argues that the ruling class domination can be overthrown where a classless communist society will be replaced. This is where the means of production benefits the society as a whole (equality). But in order to do so, working class must become conscious with the reality of their oppression. Gramsci refers to this as hegemony. Working class can develop ideas to challenge Proletariat hegemony through ‘dual consciousness’.
J.C. Kincaid claims that "from the point of view of capitalism the low-wage sector helps to underpin and stabilize the whole structure of wages and the conditions of employment of the working class." Differentials in wages help to fragment the working-class; if wages were similar, greater unity and a single class-consciousness might be encouraged, with a possible threat to the capitalist class as a result. Kincaid states "It is not to be expected that any Government whose main concern is with the efficiency of a capitalist economy is going to take effective steps to abolish the low wage sector." Westergaard and Resler attack the idea that the welfare state has led to a more equitable redistribution of wealth. Payments to the poor are generally levied from the working classes.
Postmodernist claim that we have entered a new postmodern phase which is fragmented and more diverse. Assess the contribution of Marxism to our understanding of the role of education Marxists take a class conflict approach. They see social institutions such as the education system as serving the needs of capitalism and it reproduces class inequality and plays an ideological role by persuading exploited workers that inequality is justified and acceptable. Althusser sees education as an ideological state apparatus that keeps the bourgeoisie in power as they control the state. Capitalists are able to control people’s ideas, beliefs and values and they are also able to suppress the working class via the police and courts.
It breeds competition and commodity fetishism, whereby people gain a desire for material things. The people in question become obsessed with personal gain and coming out on top, breaking the law is a small price to pay for the reward of success. David Gordon argues that crime is a response to the capitalist system and is found in every single part of the class structure, even if the official statistics mark it out to be a working class problem. Marxists see law making and law enforcement as serving the interest of capitalism, Chambliss argues that law to protect private property are made to protect the interest of the dominant and capitalist or ruling class because they decide as to what constitutes as crime. Laureen Snider argues that the state is reluctant to pass laws that regulate the activities of businesses or threaten their profits, there is the Marxist view that there is one law for the rich and another for the poor.
Evaluate Marxist Theories in relation with Crime and Deviance Tradition Marxism is a structural theory, formed from the ideas of Karl Marx, who argued that society is capitalist and divided into two class; the bourgeoisie and the proletariat, which causes inequality in society. These ideas are often seen out outdated or too deterministic, Neo-Marxism have been developed under the influence of traditional Marxism and other approaches such as labelling theory and interactionalist. Firstly, traditional Marxists sees crime as having a function - it serves capitalism. Therefore, it is suggested that capitalism is criminogenic as crime is inevitable in a capitalist society. The working class may be more likely to commit crime than the middle class for reasons such as the means of survival in poverty or the alienation and lack of control they have on their lives leading to frustration and committing crime.
They overlook, race, religion social background, gender and age with the strict understanding that where you reach on the social ladder is entirely dependent on the work and effort you put in. On the other hand, Marxism is understood as the theory and practice of working class self-emancipation. Marxists believe that there are two classes; the Bourgeoisie and the proletariat where class membership depended upon ownership (Bourgeoisie) or non-ownership (Proletariat) of the means of production. These two social classes depend upon each other as a means of employment or as a source of profit. Functionalists however, believe society works in a similar way to a human body.
So Marx and Engels believed that the working and middle class should overthrow the upper class from power. The Marxist perspective believes that the working and middle class should run the government, and then everyone would be paid equally and be given equal chances at school. Their idea was also to make sure that no one business was becoming powerful enough to make the smaller businesses become redundant. Marxism can be explained like a house. For example, the economy is the foundations, and society is the building on top.
Outline the postmodernist view of the role of Education Postmodernists take a diversity approach when considering the role of education. They argue that the Marxist view is outdated and that society has entered a new postmodern phase. Marxists believe that capitalism cannot function without a workforce that is willing to accept exploitation. They also see education as reproducing and legitimating class inequality. Postmodernists reject this view of Marxism, that we still live in a two-class society and the claim that education reproduces class inequality.