Assess the Marxist view that the main role of the family is to serve the interests of capitalism
Marxism is a conflict perspective and was created on the ideology of Karl Marx. This conflict theory does not share the functionalist view that society is built on harmony and success. It sees society divided into to two opposed classes, one of which exploit the labour of the other. Many sociologists such as Marxists believe the main role of the family is too serving capitalism. There are 4 main ways Marxism serves capitalism. Firstly the family socialises children, thereby reproducing both labour power and an acceptance of capitalism (false consciousness). Secondly Women's domestic work is unpaid which benefits capitalism. Thirdly the family acts as safety valves for the stresses and frustrations of working class men. Lastly the family as a unit of consumption buys the goods and services provided by capitalism.
Eli Zaretsky a Marxist sociologist argued that with industrialisation, the home and the workplace have become distinct spheres. The family is also expected to act as a haven where the worker can find relief after a hard day. However, Zaretsky argued that it is not always possible for the family to sustain the pressure and frustration of the workplace. Zaretsky also argued that the family served the interest of capitalism in various ways, namely, through the unpaid (domestic work) of women and by the reproduction of labour force and by being an important unit of consumption.
Engles argues that the nuclear family has become essential. The monogamous bourgeois nuclear family developed to help solve the problem of the inheritance of private property - men needed to know who their children were in order to pass on their property to their heirs. The family is therefore designed to control...