Examine Marxist views of the role of the family


...Start of the 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.


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This means a private place where people, predominantly male workers, can enjoy a personal life, and is valued as individuals, and has some degree of control over their lives. This release in the family supports them to live with their regular oppression in the world of work, and thereby helps to challenge opposition to capitalism. Nevertheless, this seems a much exaggerated view of the family, without family conflicts and rows, and, as Marxist feminists have pointed out this is very much a female Marxist perspectives on the family, as much of the work that might make the family a sanctuary and refuge is done by, and at the expense of, women. The traditional Marxist perspective tends to be a bit old- fashioned. The ideas that men marry and have children to pass on property ignore other reason for getting married or forming families.


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They provide a healthy solution to functionalist and New Right accounts, which tend to emphasize the ‘functional’ aspects of the family and downplay the negative side of the family life. For feminists, the family and marriage are major sources of female domination and gender inequalities in society. Also feminists emphasize that housework is unpaid labour. If women ironed clothes, cooked and cleaned for others outside the family they would be paid for it, but in the family they are not. Oakley has emphasized that housework is hard, routine and unrewarding and housework remains the primary responsibility of women, though men might sometimes help.


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