Assess the Usefulness of Marxist Theory for an Understanding of the Family

597 Words3 Pages
Marxism is the study of capitalist societies. The theory first came from the German sociologist Karl Marx. Marxist theory mainly studied the nuclear family (N.F). The definition of the nuclear family consists of a mother, father and their dependent children. Marx believed within the capital society there were two types of social classes the ruling class (bourgeoisie) and the working class (proletariat). His theory was the proletariat own nothing and the bourgeoisie owned all the means of production. Friedrich Engels was also a father of Marxist theory alongside Karl Marx. In 1884 Engels believed several theories of the functions of the N.F. It was to allow husbands to control their wives and this was to ensure the paternity of the sons. Therefore, wealth can be kept in the hands of bourgeoisie families (the ruling class) through inheritance from father to son. This is useful that he identifies the male superior towards the in the N.F and the importance functionalists believe of reproduction to keep the wealth within the family. Also shows the functionalists theory of the economic function of the family to be kept in the family showing the unfair advantage the bourgeoisie had on the proletariat. Eli Zaretsky in 1976 said the N.F reproduces the next generation of workers and it consumes the good of capitalism. It acts as a safety net for male frustration created by work. Zaretsky identifies the usefulness of the N.F giving an understanding of the dominating roles with the mother and father showing how sexist it is towards women. Also shows the socialisation of functionalists as the N.F sets up a good stability for the dependent children. Cooper another sociologist said the N.F is used to reinforce the ruling class ideology in order to keep the proletariat in a state of false class consciousness. This is useful as it identifies the importance that the N.F is more
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