Using Material from Item 2b and Elsewhere, Asses the Marxist View That the Main Role of the Family Is to Serve the Interests of Capitalism

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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. In the past, men needed to know if their children were actually theirs to ensure that property they owned was inherited by blood. This is when the patriarchal monogamous nuclear family came about. Women were seen as men’s property and their sole function was to provide a son who was to inherit his father’s property. Women were to stay monogamous to be certain of the paternity of the child. For Engels it is the nature of capitalism which dictates the structure of the nuclear family. This maintains the class inequality because inheritance of property secures that class divisions will be maintained between the bourgeoisie and the proletariat. Engels is criticised because his view assumes that the nuclear family is still dominant in today’s capitalist society which fails to be true because there is a great deal of family diversity and a much wider range of family structures. Other sociologists such as feminism criticise this view because they consider that the family do not perform functions in the interest of the bourgeoisie. In their opinion, it overlooks the patriarchy in society created by the nuclear family and creates and maintains gender inequalities. They see the family serving interest for men rather than the bourgeoisie. Furthermore,
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