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Examine the Marxist contribution to our understanding of the family

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´╗┐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.

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