Examine Marxist views of the role of the family (24 marks)
Marxists believe that the nuclear family is dominant in capitalist society. Marxists say that the family serves capitalism in four ways. Firstly the family socialises their children, they reproduce labour power and have an acceptance of capitalism. Secondly women’s domestic work is unpaid which benefits capitalism. Thirdly the family acts as a comfort for the stresses and frustrations of working class men they are there to ‘Cushion the main provider’. Lastly the family as a unit of consumption buys the goods and services provided by capitalism. These functions benefit the minority in power, the bourgeoisie, and the economy. The functions disadvantage the working class society, the proletariat.
One way the family serves capitalism is the socialisation of the young into the ruling class ideology. They see the family as an institution which serves and maintains the position of the ruling class. Marxists point out is that families socialise children in to an idea of hierarchy and inequality. An example of this is when parent’s power over children making them accustom to the idea that there is always someone above or better than them and they will have to obey there orders. This leads them to the working life where you work under capitalists and accept orders from superior employers. Therefore they prepare for your working life which benefits the capitalists, however Functionalists view is that the family teaches us the shared norms and values of the society, but not just the norms and values of the ruling class. Although Marxists further argue the family does this through punishments and rewards and being role models. Also Feminists believe that Marxists do not give more attention to the exploitation of women within the family for example, the family produces labour at low cost to the capitalist system as wife’s are not paid directly for taking care of children and doing all the housework.
A second way the...