Marx on Gender and the Family: A Critical Study (Historical Materialism Book Series, Volume 39)
Heather A. Brown
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Overall, from Marx on Gender and the Family emerges a dialectical Marxism, one that points to the beginnings of a unitary theory of gender and class. Noted throughout is that Marx did not systematically examine gender as a category and the aim of the book is not to try and construct one. Brown is not scared to highlight some of Marx’s failings, in particular when he falls back on prejudice or moralism when discussing the oppression of women … The most important aspect of the work is that in providing a systematic overview of the totality of Marx’s work on the topic, Brown is able to indicate openings for analysis that can construct the base for the redevelopment of a Marxist-feminist theory.
—Jenny Morrison, International Socialist Group
solution to the antagonisms that have existed between individuals in class-society: The human significance of nature only exists for social man, because only in this case is nature a bond with other men, the basis of his existence for others and of their existence for him. Only then is nature the basis of his own human experience and a vital element of human reality. The natural existence of man has here become his human existence and nature itself has become human for him. Thus society is the
seen as the property of men. In this social relation, which, at first glance, has little to do with the economic relationships, take on specific characteristics of relationships involving capitalist private property where only basic ownership and control is important: Private property has made us so stupid and partial that an object is only ours when we have it, when it exists for us as capital or when it is directly eaten, drunk, worn, inhabited, etc., in short, utilized in some way; although
insightful discussion of these issues. 9. See Grant 2005 and Klotz 2006. 10. See Carver 1998. 11. See Leeb 2007. 12. See Giminez 2005. 13. See Anderson 1999. 14. See Anderson 2002 and 2010. 15. Hennessy 2006, p. 387. 4 • Chapter One openings within Marx’s overall theory of society that may be amenable to a feminist interpretation. I will discuss those published writings that address gender and the family directly or indirectly, as well as his 1879–82 notebooks, some of them still
important example of a scholar who has 18. Holmstrom 1984. 19. Vogel 1983. This topic will be addressed further in Chapter Three. 20. Dupré 1966. 6 • Chapter One carried out this sort of work.21 One of Dunayevskaya’s major contributions to the study of Marxism is found in her emphasis on looking at the totality of Marx’s work and especially the importance that Marx placed on factors other than class. Especially in Rosa Luxemburg, Women’s Liberation and Marx’s Philosophy of Revolution,
the expense of the Commune, orphans would receive the education necessary ‘to make their own way in society’.93 This was, as Thomas notes, ‘an implicit recognition of the structure of the working-class family, as it really existed, outside the context of religious and bourgeois laws: the recognition of unions libres [free unions];94 of the right of children, legitimate or natural, to subsistence, and the disappearance of the old macula bastardiae of Roman Law, Church, and Civil Code’.95 91.