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Assess the Marxist View of the Role of the Family.

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´╗┐ASSESS THE MARXIST VIEW OF THE ROLE OF THE FAMILY (24 MARKS) Marxism is a conflict theory that sees society as being based on class divisions and exploitation. Marxists see all institutions in capitalist society as contributing to the maintenance of exploitation. The family is seen as an oppressive institution that performs several important functions for capitalism. According to Engels (1884), a Marxist, a man wants to know that the children in his family are his own children, so this has led to monogamous marriages. If a man knows that the children are his, his money and property (wealth) are then kept in his family, meaning that when he dies his children would get the money and the property. This essentially means that the rich stay rich and the poor stay poor (circle of deprivation) as a family?s wealth would stay in the family and will not be shared with anyone who is outside that family. ...read more.


This challenges Zaretsky?s view of the family because the ruling class are losing money as they are having to financially take care of these types of families who require benefits. So, this just goes to show us that the role of the family is not always to benefit capitalism. Anstey, a Marxist feminist, argues that women play their traditional role of ?shit takers?. This means that if, for example, a man is not happy at work, he can go home and abuse his wife if he wants or have sex with her because he knows that his wife will not challenge him. So, essentially a man can take anger out on his family instead of taking it out on his boss and this allows him to go back to work and carry on working as usual. This benefits the ruling class as they would still have an effective workforce which can earn them more money and help them to stay rich. ...read more.


Radical Feminists, on the other hand, say the role of the family is to oppress women. They argue that patriarchy (male domination) is the main cause of women?s oppression. For example, men dominate through violence or the threat of it. Men also benefit from women?s unpaid work and sexual services. So these feminists challenge the Marxists? view of the family as they believe the main role of the family is to reproduce gender inequality instead of promoting capitalism. Although Marxists only see the negative things about the family, their views of the family are true to an extent. For example, those who are part of the royal family will remain rich, so it is true that in some families the rich stay rich and the poor stay poor. However, having said that, Marxists fail to acknowledge that there are other types of families other than nuclear families. For example, there are families where there are same sex partners. Also, other sociologists, such as feminists and functionalists have different view of the family. So, in conclusion, it is important to note that that the Marxists? view of the family should not be generalised. ...read more.

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