Last Updated on January 9, 2019 by Karl Thompson
Applying material from item C analyse two ways in which the nuclear family might perform ideological functions (10)
Marxist sociologists have long argued that the traditional nuclear family performs ideological functions for capitalism, through for example, socializing children into thinking that hierarchy normal and inevitable.
However, radical Feminist sociologists argue that the main function of the nuclear family lies in maintaining inequalities between men and women through promoting patriarchal ideology.
A brief model plan…
Point 1: One ideological function = socialising children into thinking inequality is normal, this is done through ‘age patriarchy’ – children are expected to be obedient to parents.
Development – much like the correspondence principle in education this gets children ready to be obedient to their bosses in work and also to accept inequalities in broader society, class inequalities which exist between bourgeois and proletariat for example.
Further development – According to Marxist Feminists, traditional gender roles further encourage obedience to the rules at work – if man thinks he is ‘the provider’ and women are dependent at home, the male worker is less likely to go on strike because it undermines his provider role.
Further development – According to Marxists the family might also passify children by acting as a unit of consumption – they are taught to ‘find their identity’ in the products they consume, not in thinking and questioning, thus this might contribute to ideological control.
Evaluation – a problem with this specifically performing functions for capitalism is that ‘age patriarchy’ within families typically occurs in pre-capitalist societies.
Point 2: Radical Feminists argue the traditional nuclear family normalises gender inequality
Development – women stay at home look after the kids, men go to work, women are thus financially dependent on men in this situation
Further Development – This can also be reinforced by the way dads tend to police daughters more than sons (differential gender socialisation)
Further development – the privatised nuclear family also allows male violence against women to go unnoticed
Evaluation – HOWEVER, liberal fems and postmodernists would point out that gender norms are changing and the above is all much more likely in the age of the negotiated family and the pure relationship.
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