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Examine the Marxists view of the family

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Introduction

´╗┐Examine the Marxist view of the family Marxists believe that the nuclear family is dominant in capitalist?s society. They see the family as performing essential functions, but negative functions. These functions benefit the minority in power (bourgeoisie) and the economy. The functions disadvantage the working class society (proletant). Marxists believe that the family is a unit of consumption. Family members go out to work to earn money. With their wages/salary they purchase goods such as food, clothing and electrical goods, from capitalist manufacturers. The bourgeoisie make a profit from this. Zaretsky (1976) backed this theory up by saying that when a man returns home form work he is the ?king of his castle?. This helps him to accept his low work status by allowing him to believe he has a high status at home. However, whilst men think that they are the ruler of the home, Morgan (1996) argues that the source of power with in the family is food. ...read more.

Middle

From being a child, they will grow up and mature and become aunties/uncles, parents and grandparents themselves. The children will also grow up to look after their parents when they become too old and incapable of doing things. In contrast to Marxists, functionalists believe that society is held together by shared culture and the institutions. They believe rules in society exist to benefit both individuals and society. Murdock was a functionalist theorist that carried out a study of 250 societies. From this he identified 4 common functions of the nuclear family. These include: sexual; reproductive; economic and educational. The reproductive and sexual sector of the family provides and controls sexual relationships of its adult members. By doing this, they create a new member of society. When the child is born, families teach the child norms and values of society, therefore maintaining the value of consensus. This is what functionalist see as the educational side of the family. Parsons (1902-79) introduced the theory that there are two basic irreducible functions of the family. ...read more.

Conclusion

Functionalists have also been accused of ignoring growing family diversity, because they believe that the nuclear family is the one that is best suited to the wider needs of society. They completely ignore all other family types such as extended, reconstituted and single parent. Be that as it may, every family may have their ?dark side?. All types of families can consist of emotional blackmail and verbal/sexual abuse. To conclude, I think both Marxists and Functionalist both have made some fair points with their theories. I think that Marxists have an acceptable point when they say that the family socialise children to accept capitalism and levels of hierarchy. I also agree with Berger and Kellner?s theory of ?on-going construction? throughout the family. With Functionalists, I agree with Parsons theory of the two basic irreducible functions of the family and to some degree I do agree with Murdock?s theory of socialisation. However, I do despise how Functionalists completely ignore the negative side to families and I think that this is a factor they should consider before they automatically assume that every nuclear family is rosy. ...read more.

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