Using Material from Item 2b and Elsewhere, Assess the Marxist View That the Main Role of the Family Is to Serve the Interests of Capitalism

Topics: Sociology, Marxism, Capitalism Pages: 3 (1008 words) Published: February 26, 2011
Each group in society has a different idea on what the main role of the family is. As Item 2B says, “Marxists see all social institutions as serving the interests of capitalism.” This includes the family, and they say that it serves the interests of capitalism by maintaining and justifying class inequality and exploitation by the rich. Other groups, however, have different opinions, such as Functionalists who think that the family performs essential needs of society. Marxists and Functionalists opinions are completely contrasted, as Marxists think that we live in a Capitalist society based on unequal conflict between the classes, whilst Functionalists see society as based on “value consensus”, where everyone agrees. The family is an important market for the sale of consumer goods because advertisers encourage families to be in competition with each other (“keeping up with the Joneses”), and to keep buying all the latest gizmos and gadgets. They also target children who use their “pester power” to get their parents to buy more things and spend more money on them.This is one of the ways that Marxists say the family serves capitalism, because the family generates major profits for it. They also say that capitalism exploits the labour of the workers, making a profit by selling the products made from their labour for more than it costs them to be produced. Another argument from the Marxist perspective is that the family performs key ideological functions for capitalism by justifying and maintaining inequality , which in turn maintains capitalism. As suggested in Item 2B ,they say that the family socialises children into accepting and being used to heirarchy and inequality. The parents power over their children gets the children used to the idea that someone is always in charge, which prepares them for working, where they will contribute to capitalism by obeying orders from their employers. Zaretsky says that the family performs the ideological function of offering...
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