Essay on Template: Marxism and family

Submitted By sonsoloni
Words: 830
Pages: 4

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. Marxism is a conflict theory which sees all society’s institutions, such as the education system, the media, religion and the state, as helping to main class inequality and capitalism. For Marxists, therefore, the functions of the family are performed solely for the benefit of the capitalist system. This view contrasts sharply with the functionalist view that the family benefits both society as a whole and the individual members of the family. First of all one reason in which the family does serve capitalism, is through the origin of the family. Engels argued that the need for the family arose when society started to value private property. With the rise of private property an organised system of inheritance became necessary. This serves capitalism, because if land and fortunes are inherited, inequality will be reproduced, in that middle class families can pass on more property to their family. Whilst the working class have little if anything to pass down to their family. This goes against everything to do with communism as they believe that property and earning should be shared. Therefore, this shows that the family serves capitalism. Engels also argued that monogamy arose. This was so that the farther knew who their offspring was, so that they could pass their property down to them. This has a clear link to inheritance, as the farther can only pass down the property to his child if he is certain that they are his child, therefore monogamy in the family does serve capitalism. However functionalists such as parsons would reject Engels view of the development of the family. Rather than being a vehicle for the passing down of wealth, the family plays an important role in the socialising and stabilising the young into adult personalities. Another reason in which the family serves capitalism is it serves as an emotional warmth from the oppressive world of work. Zaretsky argues that when a someone of the working class comes home from work of an evening, the family is there to make them forget that they are being exploited and that they have to work again the next day. Marxists would argue that this stops the working class from waking up from their false class consciousness and rising up, instead they continue to work through their oppressed lives. However, liberal feminist Jenny Somerville argues that Zaretsky the importance of the family as a refuge from life I a capitalist society. She suggests that Zaretsky underestimates the extent of cruelty, violence and incest within families. She also argues that Zaretsky ignores the fact that during the early stages of capitalism most working class women had to take paid work in order to survive, and relatively few stayed at home as full-time housewives. Althusser and poulantzas believe that the family serves capitalism by serving the ideological state apparatus. They believe they do this by socialising both pro- capitalist ideology and its own familiar ideology in order to maintain such family patterns over time. For example the family socialises its members into accepting gender roles, into accepting that it is