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

Discuss whether the family is an institution which maintains the power of the ruling class.

Extracts from this document...

Introduction

Discuss whether the family is an institution which maintains the power of the ruling class. Firstly and foremost: this statement is from the Marxist Theory perspective. Marxists are conflict theories. They see society as based on class conflict. Capitalist society contains two classes - capitalist class owns the means of production, such as factories, machinery and raw materials, while working class owns nothing but its labour power. To survive, therefore, the workers must sell their labour to the capitalists to exploit workers, making profits by paying them less than the value for what they have produced. This produces conflict between the classes. In capitalist society, all institutions - such as education, the media and religion ect - all half to maintain class inequality and exploitation. The family too serves the interests of capitalism, for example by reproducing the labour power of the workforce. Unlike functionalists, Marxists do not see social policies as benefiting all members of society equally. They see the state and its policies as serving capitalism. For examples, they see the low level of state pensions as evidence that once workers are too old to produce profits they are 'maintained' at the lowest possible cost. There are many different Marxists theory perspectives upon the role of the family within a capitalist society. These perspectives prove the above title/statement as true, these include: Early Marxist views on the family come not so much from Marx, surprisingly enough, but from Engels. Engels believes the family is shaped by the economic structure of society. This is called economic determinism. ...read more.

Middle

It is heavily linked with Engels and when monogamy was invented, so was patriarchy - the notion that men dominate women in the family and society as a whole. That woman reproduce the labour force, by socialising the next generation of workers by maintaining and servicing the current generation. Woman absorb the anger that would be directed at capitalism, Fan Ansley describes wives as 'takers of shit' who soak up the frustration their husbands feel because of alienation and exploitation they feel/suffer at work. Marists feminists see the oppression of woman in the family as linked to the exploitation of the working class. They argue that the family must be abolished at the same time as a socialist revolution replaces capitalism with a classless society. Nevertheless there are criticisms towards these perspectives. These are as follows: * The functionalists view is consensus, organic structured theory so being at the very end of the spectrum in ideologies. Though they do share similar points such as they are both macro theories, they are both interested to look at how and why people follow the rules of society and both believe that there is strong social control and order in society, there theorists think very differently. Functionalism is based on the view that society is a system of interdependent parts held together by a shared culture or value consensus (an agreement amongst society's members about what values are important). Functionalist theories assume the different parts of a society each have their own role to play (their own "function"), and work together smoothly in order to form a harmonious whole (macro). ...read more.

Conclusion

Another criticism, one that is fairly obvious is that both Marxists and functionalists ignore individual action and choice. The symbolic Interactionists perspective see us living in a social action society, which emphasises the extent to which people are conscious of their actions and how much individual social behaviour is the result of real choices. The social action approach believes people give meaning to their actions and those of other people and makes our own choices. So therefore, we choose to live in a family. Not capitalism, not the ruling class, but us personally do. In conclusion, from the evidence put forward I do believe that family is an institution which helps maintain the ruling class's power. I especially agree with Althusser and the ISA. I truly believe that the working class are victims of the ideological control and have the false consciousness, can not see the truth clearly. This ideological false consciousness justifies the society they live in and stops them questioning it - exploiting them. Unlike the Functionalists theories, Marxist theories towards the family seem more believable and realistic. Functionalists seem to see society as they "wish" it was, when it's not as perfect as they want to make it out to be. But life isn't perfect, and at the same time Marxists theories are pessimistic and believe that the working class are all getting exploited when there is a lot more to what determines why they are living in a family and such. Marxists have a better idea but need to take some ideas from Interactionists to get a clearer picture in my belief. ...read more.

The above preview is unformatted text

This student written piece of work is one of many that can be found in our GCSE Sociology 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 GCSE Sociology essays

  1. Assess the claim that the nuclear family is a universal institution.

    Someone who disagrees with Murdock's view on nuclear families and its universal institution is a woman known as Nancy Gonzalez.

  2. Noughts and Crosses by Malorie Blackman

    Even most of the teachers at the School don't believe that they should mix and Sephy gets into trouble for sitting with Noughts at Lunch break. These people don't understand why Callum and Sephy are friends and like society today sometimes let prejudices cloud their judgement.

  1. Changes in Family Roles

    had jobs at the time and so not many companies, shops or factories offered any jobs for women. I had however my cousin who owned a little corner shop and he offered me a job to work there. Me: Oh, you were lucky!

  2. Is George Murdock's 'Nuclear Family' still, the norm in British society?

    By 1987 14% of families with dependent children were lone parents 5. In 1989, 664,000 lone parents received state benefit to provide for over a million children 6. By 1989 27% of all births took place outside marriage 7. In 1989 75% of all births to teenage girls took place

  1. The Family As A Social Institution

    If people have little or no regard for their close family members then they will therefore have no regard for the rest of the way that the society functions. No fear of the law no interest in education in other words absolutely no respect for what currently holds our society in place.

  2. This essay will explain the functionalist, Marxist and Social action theories of race and ...

    be categorised as part of the working class and through the evidence collected from their empirical study, introduced the theory of the immigrant 'underclass', which in effect details immigrants as a marginalized "separate underprivileged class". (Rex, 1979, page 275) Rex and Tomlinson's study, from a broad Weberian perspective, was based

  1. Pitted against Patriarchy

    Her drinking serves to block out the reality and allow her to step back into fantasy, thereby making her situation more tolerable.24 Equally, the community's response to such breaches of cultural constructs exposes them as complicit and controlling.

  2. How far do sociologists agree that education benefits the ruling class?

    Functionalists believe that education provides the institution of work with skilled workers; this is the idea of organic analogy, where each institution is society work together to benefit one another. Functionalists claim that education is a meritocracy and that education is fair and based on equality of opportunity.

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