Examine the Contribution of Feminist Sociologists to the Study of Family Life

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Examine the contribution of feminist sociologists to the study of family life Examine the contribution of feminist sociologists to the study of family life

Up until recently, sociology was mainly dominated by men. The famous founding fathers were Auguste Comte, Karl Marx, Emile Durkheim and Max Weber, each of these men had their own opinion and points to prove to society. They tended to focus on the functions of key institutions towards society and they did this from their own perspective, which was male. Many of them did not touch upon the subject of issues and problems women faced, it was not until the 1960s and 70s that women sociologists emerged onto the scene and brought their own agenda, telling people their own view and opinions and bringing the role of women to attention. Although certain researchers, for example functionalist Talcott Parsons, he brought into light that the women is very important in her role of the family, in which he highlighted the mother as a key cornerstone into a working and balanced family life. However feminists have drawn our attention to the harmful and upsetting aspects of marriage and family life. There are many types of feminists which make up the groups of feminists in which they all share their own different beliefs but they all share a view in common, that the family is a patriarchal institution, this means that the family is male dominated. They believe that the male dominance supports and reproduces the inequalities between men and women i.e. men are more important than women.

There is a whole range of feminist’s today. One group are the Marxist feminists, these are Marxists with a hint of feminism; they believe that the capitalist system benefits from the exploitation of women at the home. One Marxist feminist Margaret Benston, she argues that women’s unpaid labour in the home maintains a cheap and healthy workforce; this therefore provides a vital free service for the capitalist system. Women’s domestic...
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