The Family

  • Paul Corrigan
  • Peter Leonard
Part of the Critical Texts in Social Work and the Welfare State book series (CTSWWS)


The other chapters in this section all reflect the main categories of Marxist analysis, but some of them may seem to have their application at some distance from the day-to-day concerns of social workers: for example, the way in which production as an analytical tool works it way through to the day-to-day crises of social workers may at first sight appear difficult to understand. Yet in all these areas there is a well-worked-through set of literature within the Marxian tradition. This chapter, though, provides us with a different problem. The family represents an obvious area of practice for the social worker; there is a vast and increasing amount of literature about the institution and the social worker’s role in relating to it. Yet there has been very little discussion about the institution within the Marxist tradition and very little practice within Marxist politics. Such a gap in the tradition has always left social workers with the impression that the working-class movement and Marxism as a political theory have been totally uninterested in the small-scale individualistic problems of family life. That this is not the case is demonstrated by the fact that the women’s movement in various forms has resurrected the Marxist concern with the family both theoretically and politically.


Labour Force Social Worker Social Work Practice Capitalist Mode Marxist Analysis 
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  1. 1.
    See, for example, Judith Hunt, Marxism To-day (November 1975), and Sheila Rowbotham, Woman’s Consciousness, Man’s World (Penguin Books, 1973).Google Scholar
  2. 2.
    See, especially, J. Berger, A Seventh Man (Penguin, 1975).Google Scholar
  3. 3.
    K. Marx and F. Engels, ‘Communist Manifesto’ in Selected Works (Lawrence & Wishart, 1968) pp. 37, 38.Google Scholar
  4. 4.
    Ibid., p. 50.Google Scholar
  5. 5.
    K. Marx, Capital, vol. I (Lawrence & Wishart, 1974) pp. 459–60.Google Scholar
  6. 6.
    F. Engels, The Condition of the English Working Class (Panther, 1969).Google Scholar
  7. 7.
    K. Marx, Capital, vol. i, p. 460.Google Scholar
  8. 8.
    F. Engels, ‘Origins of the Family, Private Property and the State’, in Selected Works, op. cit., p. 455.Google Scholar
  9. 9.
    See K. Marx, op. cit., chapter xv, section 9; and also R. Mishra, ‘Marx and Welfare’, Sociological Review, vol. 23, no. 2 (1975).Google Scholar
  10. 10.
    Peggy Morton, ‘The Family under Capitalism’, in Leviathan (May 1970), quoted in Rowbotham, op. cit., pp. 105, 106.Google Scholar
  11. 11.
    F. Engels, op. cit., p. 510.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Paul Corrigan and Peter Leonard 1978

Authors and Affiliations

  • Paul Corrigan
    • 1
  • Peter Leonard
    • 2
  1. 1.Polytechnic of North LondonUK
  2. 2.University of WarwickUK

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