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

Outline and evaluate the Marxist view of the family

Extracts from this document...


´╗┐Outline and evaluate the Marxist view of the family Marxism looks at the methods of control of the ruling class (bourgeoisie) in determining the way society is organized. The family is seen as part of the structure of society and is one of a number of social institutions which help maintain the capitalist system. Marxists state that it is the requirements of this system that has come to shape the family in modern societies. From a Marxist perspective, society revolves around the infrastructure and social superstructure. The superstructure maintains the infrastructure whilst the infrastructure shapes the superstructure. ...read more.


Engels stated that this system is maintained by the socialisation of capitalist social norms and values. Marxists do not see this as benefiting the family at all, only the system, and therefore this helps support their theory that the family exists as a largely negative institution. Zaretsky (1979) looked at the change in the family from a unit of production to a unit of consumption. Like Engels, he noted that socialisation was used to instill values and norms applicable to the system of capitalism. He saw the family as a tool of capitalist society that is vital for its survival, and observed how many features of the modern family supported it, like spending on leisure activities and encouraging aspirations such as owning a house and attaining wealth. ...read more.


The family was observed to provide a source of satisfaction that cannot be found in society as a whole, something that bears similarities to the functionalist 'warm bath theory'. In conclusion, the Marxist view of the family is mostly negative. It sees many of the key features of the family as mechanisms of capitalist society, and differs greatly from other sociological theories such as functionalism, which presents a comforting image of the family. Critics of Marxist viewpoints include Somerville (2000), who claimed that Zaretsky did not take the element of the 'dark side of the family' into account when discussing its supportive qualities. Its extensive focus on class division could be seen as another negative feature of Marxist theory on family, as it appears to ignore other factors such as gender and ethnicity. ...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

Here's what a teacher thought of this essay

5 star(s)

A brief but effective piece of work regarding Marxism and the family. The theory was outlined well, and there was good use of other theorists to critique/support it. The writer evidenced clear knowledge of not just Marxism but Functionalism also.
Consider how you could develop the work regarding Marx's narrow focus on class - why exactly is it a weakness?

Marked by teacher Diane Apeah-Kubi 28/06/2013

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. Examine the view that the nuclear family is universal. (24)

    Before puberty, a Nayar girl was promised to a tail husband, although the husband and wife did not live together and did not even have to see each other after the ritual, although the wife would have to mourn the death of her tail husband on his death, which was the only obligation in the marriage.

  2. Discuss the view that the modern family is becoming more diverse

    One issue that arises is the confusion of the family within the household. Households in Britain basically have the general form of a nuclear family rather than extended families. From the sixteenth to the nineteenth century the average household accommodated less than five people (Laslett and Wall 1972).

  1. Gay Marriage - persuasive essay.

    As mentioned earlier, marriage naturally leads to the aspiration for having children, and adoption is the only way for h********l couples to do so, which in the end is a positive side of gay marriage because it opens up the doors for a child in need of a loving home.


    of childhood from today's. There is also a vast difference in childhood in various cultures. Cross cultural difference whereby different cultures have a different perception on childhood.

  1. Assess the view that the symmetrical family exists in modern day society

    This causes the couple to spend more time with each other and more likely to help and support each other whilst moving in and settling so they are more symmetrical in the roles they have between each other. Feminists, however, completely disagree with the 'march of progress' view that the symmetrical family exists in modern day society.

  2. The nuclear family is considered the 'ideal'. Why and for whom?

    With a Marxist view in mind, a nuclear family, re-constituted or single parent family, are all very much doing the same job in those terms; they are both mass consuming which supports the economy and socialising children within their class.

  1. Assess the view that the nuclear family is no longer the norm

    The women decided to create what she calls "divorce-extended families' to suit their own needs. From this research she found that postmodern families are diverse and depend on people's personal choices such as whether to get divorced, cohabit or come out as gay.

  2. Sociology Research Paper - To examine how teenage pregnancy affects the teen mothers health ...

    All pregnant teenagers should have medical care beginning early in their pregnancy. Pregnant teens can have many different emotional reactions: * some may not want their babies * others may view the creation of a child as an achievement and not recognize the serious responsibilities * some may keep a

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