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.
Theories of Poverty: Poverty and Capitalism Marxists argue that the existence of poverty is beneficial to the ruling class. Poverty increases the motivation of the working class to work. Those in work also receive unequal rewards for work. The existence of low wages reduces the wage demands of the workforce as a whole. 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."
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.
Zaretsky argues that the family 'props up capitalism', saying the family is one place where male workers can feel they have power and control. This helps them accept their oppression in wider society; he argues that as long as men can be in charge of the family they will never challenge the bourgeoisie within a workforce because all his frustrations would be taken out on his family. Marxists however focus too much on the nuclear family and ignores family diversity. It sees the nuclear family as being the dominant family type which they feel maintains capitalism, it also ignores the positive aspects of the family for example the support thru give instead they focus far too
The wife’s role of ensuring the husband is performing well at work does not cost the employer anything, this shows how the family promotes free labour. Fran Ansley argues that the wife’s supportive role only absorbs the husband’s anger at the capitalist system rather than it being aimed at the system that caused his anger. She describes this as “takers of shit”, she believed that women were like sponges and did not have any real role in the family other than to listen to their husbands and do what they say. Diane Feeley believes that families teach children to submit to parental authority and they will therefore lead a life seeing themselves in a hierarchy in a capitalist society. Some criticisms of these views are that many of the opinions exaggerate the harm done to women and do not consider other
Marxists believe that we live in a capitalist society and that society is divided into two classes: the bourgeoisie, the ruling class, and the proletariat, the working class. Capitalism is an economic system in which trade and industry are controlled by private owners for profit (the bourgeoisie). As it states in item 2b, Marxists argue that the family help maintain the class inequality and exploitation in society and they do it to serve the interests of capitalism. This view has been criticised by functionalist and feminist sociologists. Marxists consider that the family provides the function of inheritance of property.
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’. Schools also replicate the social relationships found in the workplace such as the hierarchy of importance, the ‘setting’ of pupils in regard to their talents and the authority teachers have over pupils. However, Bowles and Gintis’ theory of the correspondence theory is too deterministic as they see teachers as the agents of capitalism and the students as the victims when some teachers are radical and not all students will be passive recipients of capitalist ideology. Karl Marx, a traditional Marxist came up with three
Neo Marxist believe that the working class is brainwashed into accepting exploitation this is because they have been brought up to be obedient and become good workers in the future because they have been brought up in this manner they do not think that they are being exploited and therefore they do not take any action against it. The Marxist view of the family is mainly very negative as most families are exploited in someway; this is where someone is taken advantage of, in the Marxist view this is to do with the poor workers and there low wages. The poor worker have to oblige to their low wages as if they didn’t they may not be able to get another job which offers more wage therefore they will not be able to pay for food which the family needs to survive. The working class feels that they are inferior to middle class people because of the wealth and the type of job that they have however this is false consciousness. Marx believed that one day the workers would notice that they are being exploited and then all of the workers will have a
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. This ensures that working class pupils end up in working class jobs as the education system will fail them. The education system also legitimates class inequality by producing ideologies that convince people that inequality is inevitable and this makes sure that the working class accept their roles and do not challenge or threaten capitalism. Bowles and Gintis argue that capitalism needs obedient workers who will not rebel and will accept low pay and authority. Similarly to Althusser, Bowles and
A criticism of Murdock’s theory is that other institutions can for fill some of the functions that the family performs for example the education system or the media. Marxist and feminist have also opposed his claims saying that functionalists don’t take conflict or exploitation into consideration. Feminists say that the family teach the needs of men and oppressing women so they believe that the functions the family perform all contribute to male dominance and ruling over women. Marxist says that this meets the needs of capitalism but not the family members or society all together. They suggest that the functions that the family perform all help capitalism for example the function of the next generation Marxist see it as reproducing the next generation of workers.