Marx And Engels: A Social Analysis

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The institution of marriage benefits society in a number of ways. From a marriage, children are created and nurtured. Marriage and the family support society, but they also reflect how society functions. Karl Marx and Friedrich Engels demonstrate this idea through their theories. Some people know of their theory concerning the capitalist structure of the economy. However, they may be unaware of how this theory can relate to family functioning. According to Andersen (2015), “Marxist thought is one of the most influential and insightful analyses in modern intellectual history” (p. 384). During the height of the Industrial Revolution, Marx and Engels challenged the structure of capitalism. They argued that the people who owned the means of production …show more content…
They noticed the changes in the economy created transformations in the family. The Origin of the Family, Private Property, and the State (1884) describes their outlook on women’s position in the home. Marx and Engels define family as a business venture. While women do begin to work in factories during this time, society still expected them to maintain their home and raise children. Women were the proletariat within the family institution because while they cook, clean, and raise children for the capitalist men, they were solely dependent on the men to meet their survival needs. Being in a monogamous marriage also benefited a man’s future generations by carrying on his assets. Women’s proletariat, dependent role within marriage gave them a secondary social status to men (Andersen, 2015). In fact, Andersen (2015) cites Marx and Engels who assert that society gave men “a position of supremacy” (p. 390). Marx and Engels presented their theories in hope of change. They believed change in the marriage and family institution would occur when sexual attraction and romantic interest became the foundation of a marriage. Furthermore, Marx and Engels wanted to remove the accumulation of private property from a marriage to prevent the men from monopolizing their wives (Andersen, 2015). Marx and Engels would be pleased to know that a majority of Western marriages now …show more content…
Andersen (2015) discussed in the Gender and Families chapter that there was a cult of domesticity during the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries. This devout belief called for women to remain in and take care of the affairs of their home (Andersen, 2015). Women still struggle with the pressure society has for them to maintain their household while working. In fact, Andersen (2015) notes that women’s maintenance of the home can be referred to as a second shift. Marx and Engels maintained that men have power over women because of the financial resources they possess. In the modern workplace, men still gain more financial resources than women earn because of the wage gap and the glass ceiling (Andersen, 2015). Therefore, if a woman does work and contribute her own money to her household, she may still have to depend on her husband’s higher earnings. The feminization of poverty, or the predominance of single mothers experiencing poverty, show that this dynamic is true (Andersen, 2015). People may think Marx and Engels’s theories still apply to today because the United States has a capitalist economy. This is true, but how they viewed the marriage and family institution as a power imbalance still relates to modern

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