• Join over 1.2 million students every month
  • Accelerate your learning by 29%
  • Unlimited access from just £6.99 per month

Examine the Marxist contribution to our understanding of the family

Extracts from this document...


´╗┐Examine the Marxist contribution to our understanding of the family (20 marks) Marxism is a structuralist theory based on conflict, in particular class conflict. In capitalism the Bourgeoisie (owners of businesses and power) exploit the proletariat for personal gain. Marxist believe the only way to stop this is to have a revolution and convert to a communist society. Marxists believe the nuclear family props this system up, such as Zaretsky. They say how women are free labour, and this benefits capitalism. Others say communism will not work as it has never happened properly before. The Marxists do have some supporters such as the Radical Psychiatrists and the Marxist Feminists. On the other hand, Functionalists completely disagree and promote the nuclear family. Engels suggests the origins of the nuclear family were when people started to earn money and buy goods and own possessions. ...read more.


Zaretsky was criticised for exaggerating the extent to which family can be an escape from work life since the family can also be characterised by cruelty, neglect and violence. Radical Psychiatrists theories are based on Marxist ideas of the nuclear family being bad for society as a whole, but also members of families. Leech describes the nuclear family as an overloaded electrical circuit, that one day will explode and cause mental illness within the family. Leech says this occurs because there is too much pressure and expectations on the family. He also says the nuclear family is isolated from the rest of society and makes its members ignorant and maybe even racist. Laing backs up Leech?s idea with the case study of ?Jane?. Jane is a young schizophrenic, and believes she is a tennis ball in a game of mixed doubles between her parents, her in the middle as the ball. ...read more.


It began under Margaret Thatcher when she was prime minister. They believe divorce, abortion and sexual freedom destroyed the family. Charles Murray is the key researcher and creating two groups called the ?New Rabble? and the ?New Victorians?. The ?New Rabble? are the long term unemployed and welfare dependants which destroy societies values, whereas the ?New Victorians? are the respectable middle class people who keep society functioning normally. In post-revolutionary Russia, the nuclear family disintegrated. Communism damaged children psychologically as their family unit was destroyed. The Marxists say their needs to be a revolution to make society function correctly, but their reasoning is exaggerated. Zaretsky exaggerates the extent to which family is ?safe? and Laing only investigated schizophrenics. This is not reliable evidence which is backing up Marxism. On the other hand, they do show genuine cases of the bad side of a non-Marxist society. The Marxists views put a very different perspective on the understanding of the family. ...read more.

The above preview is unformatted text

This student written piece of work is one of many that can be found in our AS and A Level Family & Marriage section.

Found what you're looking for?

  • Start learning 29% faster today
  • 150,000+ documents available
  • Just £6.99 a month

Not the one? Search for your essay title...
  • Join over 1.2 million students every month
  • Accelerate your learning by 29%
  • Unlimited access from just £6.99 per month

See related essaysSee related essays

Related AS and A Level Family & Marriage essays

  1. Peer reviewed

    Examine the contribution of functionalist explanations towards an understanding of the family

    4 star(s)

    he disagrees with Parsons that the social functions in the family have decreased over time - he argues that they have increased.

  2. Examine the contribution of feminist perspectives to an understanding of the family.

    Men control children using physical and psychological abuse but in some case sexual dominance is used. Therefore Firestone believed that the sexual abuse of women and children was not about sexual deviance at all but about power. Over the centuries men have become adapted to the power held over women so find it difficult to accept them as equals.

  1. How cultural deprivation affects the educational attainment of students.

    4 out of 6 students said that they will attend 6th form to continue their education. 2 students from nuclear families said that they plan to get a job. All 8 students from an extended family said that they plan to further their education.

  2. Evaluate the contribution of Marxist thought and understanding of the development of the family

    Marxists viewpoint is that the family helps maintain an unjust and exploitive system. Marxists see the family as maintaining capitalism by; reproducing labour power, consuming products of capitalism, providing emotion support, socialising children to accept inequalities of capitalist society, they believe this is one of the main functions of the family, which therefore keeps the status quo.

  1. Assess the contribution of Marxist theories to an understanding of the family

    However, other sociologists have criticised this view because they believe that Marxists are too focused on conflict and that they ignore the genuinely happy and healthy family life that gives its members meaning. Another Marxist sociologist is Zaretsky, who sees the family as a prop to capitalism.

  2. Is the nuclear family in decline?

    The family is viewed as an isolation by crises theorist and in comparism to other institutions is regarded as the cause of all social problems. The decline of the nuclear family as an institution might also be linked to secularisation.

  • Over 160,000 pieces
    of student written work
  • Annotated by
    experienced teachers
  • Ideas and feedback to
    improve your own work