Examine Marxist views of the role of the family
Marxism is a structural theory of society which sees society divided by conflict between two main opposing social classes, due to the private ownership of the meansof production and the exploitation of the non-owners by the owners. Like functionalists, Marxists grip a structural perspective on the family, looking at how the family subsidises to the maintenance of society’s structure. However, contrasting with functionalists, Marxists do not concern the nuclear family as a functionally necessary institution. Marxists see the family within the context of a capitalist society, which is based on private property, motivated by profit, and damaged with the conflict between social classes with contrasting interests. Marxists argue that the nuclear family is concerned with social control by teaching its members to submit to the capitalist class, and they emphasize the ways the family reproduces unequal relationships and works to damp down inevitable social conflict. Traditional Marxists such as Engles believed that the committed nuclear family developed as a means of passing on private property to heirs.The family, coupled with monogamy, was an ideal mechanism as it provided proof of parenthood and so property could be passed on to the right people. However the women’s position in this family was not much different from that of prostitutes in that financial deal was struck. Althusser, a Marxist writer argued that, in order for capitalist to survive, the working class must submit to the ruling class or bourgeoisie. He proposed that the family is one of the ideological state apparatuses, along with others such as the education system and the mass media, which are concerned with social control and passing on the ideology of the dominant class. Through socialization into this ideology in the family, the dominant class tries to maintain false consciousness by engaging the hearts and minds of the working class. The...
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