Examine the Marxist Contribution to Our Understanding of the Family

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Examine the Marxist contribution to our understanding of the family Unlike functionalist sociologists, Marxists do not agree with value consensus (agreement) and the promise of meritocracy. Marxist sociologists argue that institutions; such as the family helps to maintain the system of class inequality and exploitation. This is known as capitalism. By this, the Marxists mean that the family solely operates for the benefit of the bourgeoisie (the ruling class) and this allows for the exploitation of the proletariat to take place. This view sharply contrasts the view of functionalists as they argue that the family benefits both the society as a whole and all the individual members. The Marxists will look at Engels and Zaretsky. Their theories outline ways in which the nuclear family contributes to the continuation of the capitalist system. Marxists see all society’s institutions, such as education system, the media, religion and the state, along with the family, as helping to maintain class inequality and capitalism. Therefore, for Marxists, the functions of the family are to benefit the capitalist system. Marxists see three functions that the family fulfil for capitalism; inheritance of property, ideological functions and a unit of consumption. Inheritance of property; Marxists argue that the mode of production is the key factor in determining the shape of all social institutions (such as the family). They say, as the mode of production evolves, so does the family. Marx called the earliest, classless society, primitive communism. In this type of society there was no private property. Instead all the members of society communally owned the means of production. As there was no family as such, according to Engels there existed promiscuous hordes. These were tribes in which there were no restrictions on sexual relationships. As the forces of production developed,
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