Examine the Role of Marxist Views of the Family (24 Marks) Essay

437 Words2 Pages
Marxist are conflict theorists. They believe that the society is based on the conflict of interest between the social groups with unequal power; namely the bourgeoisie and the social classes. Marxists believe the nuclear family is a tool of the ruling class, an institution used to teach its members to submit to ruling class authority. One example of the family helping to propel capitalism was highlighted by Engles (1884) who noted that within a nuclear family, any property owned by parents is often left to their children through inheritance. This helps to maintain the wealth of the bourgeoisie. Therefore the family has an economic function to support capitalism. One problem with this however is that is this view is outdated. While this may have been true in the 19th century, there are many more people, from different classes who are property owners today. Furthermore, people are living much longer lives, meaning that often property is sold to pay for nursing care. This means that inheritance of property is not just the domain of the bourgeoisie. Another argument is made by Zaretsky (1976) who believed that the family helps capitalist society because it is the one place where the working man (proletariat) can have control and power. This in turn helps him to feel better about his low status and relieves his frustrations from work. Therefore he is more likely to accept his status in society, which again fuels capitalism. The Marxists perspective also sees the role of women in the nuclear family as capitalist because in the traditional role of ‘the housewife’, women care for workers; looking after the housework and their children so they are free to work and making sure they are healthy by feeding them. This ensures that males are more productive whilst at work and boosts the economy; benefiting the bourgeoisie. This view does not take into account women who
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