Asses the Marxist view that the main role of the family is to serve the interest of capitalism. Within sociology there are many different perspectives on the family. Each different perspective sees different things as the main role of the family. Marxists view the family in a very disparaging light. They believe that the main role of the family is to serve the interest of capitalism and bourgeoisie. Marxists also believe that the family cushions the main provider. Karl Marx’s view on the capitalistic mode of production highlights the exploitative nature of the economic system.
He displays how the bourgeoisie take advantage of the proletariat and their labour, the proletariat are a tool used to create profit and to keep profit margins at acceptable levels. Marx argues that the monogamous bourgeois nuclear family developed to help solve the problem of the inheritance of private property. The men needed to know who their children were in order to pass on their property to their heirs. The family was therefore thought to be by Marxists as designed to control women and protect property. The Bourgeois nuclear family emerged with capitalism.
It is patriarchal as designed to guarantee and encourage male power through the inheritance of property. It therefore serves the interests of capitalism. 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 (this would be an argument that is also put forward by feminists). 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. The claim that capitalistic societies are exploitative societies also appears to be true when you take into account the relationship between the bourgeoisie and the proletariat in our own modern economic system. As long as there are families, people will keep buying the product and the bourgeoisie will continue to make money. Marxists also believe that housewives are producing the next generation of the proletariat.
This means that more people will be created to fill the jobs of the retiring proletariat. Marx claims that societies which make use of the capitalistic mode of production are exploitative, and this claim can be proven through his description of the needs of this system and the ways in which the bourgeoisie fulfil those needs. The capitalist mode of production requires exploitation because it relies on the profit created when using the proletariat as labour and the product of that labour is another market at a higher price.
Because the means of production, or the technology, machinery, and methods involved in production, are so far advanced, the old mode of production of is no longer a viable option for a member of the proletariat to sustain himself. Therefore, he is bound to the bourgeoisie and is dependent upon it to give payment for his capacity to provide labour. It is clear by now that Marxist main focus is on the exploitative nature of capitalism and its use of family a tool in order to serve capitalist. Marxism puts across narrow views about what the family should be like and what it is actually like.
They pose a strong argument to prove that the main question at hand is in fact true but it all appears to be bias. The main focus is economic exploitation and the idea of patriarchal exploitation is neglected. The family is portrayed by Marxist as a violent institution and it neglects to consider the emotional psychological and sociological benefits of a family unit. The idea of the family being a stabilising force in a capitalist society is viewed as a negative when in fact is it such a bad thing that family groups promote social stability ?
Their view on the family also appears to be very dated. There are many factors which have not been taken into account especially the diversity in families of today. Because of such diversity in modern families it is hard to say whether some of the points put across even apply. It is also very difficult to get a clear image on just what the modern family is. Regardless of the strong criticisms of Marxist approach to the family and its role in a capitalist society I feel that the evidence to support this does in fact prove it to be correct.
The family has many roles which are beneficial to capitalist society, they aid them by not only being a consumer of goods which they have to pay for but as long as there are families the bourgeoisies will continue to exploit and make money. Although the family has many benefits for everyone considered to be part of one (however it may be defined) it does in fact appear to be a tool in a capitalist society used to create profit for the bourgeoisie.
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