Marx on Gender and the Family: A Critical Study

Author(s): Heather A. Brown
Release Date: Nov 05, 2013
Publisher: Haymarket Books
ISBN-10: 1608462781
ISBN-13: 978-1608462780
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This, the first book-length study devoted exclusively to Marx’s perspectives on gender and the family, offers a fresh look at this topic in light of twenty-first century concerns. Although Marx’s writings sometimes exhibit sexism, especially through the naturalization of certain female social functions, his work often transcends these. Brown studies those writings on gender, as well as his 1879-1882 notebooks on precapitalist societies and gender, some of them still unpublished in any language. The author argues that although Marx never fully developed these ideas, he gave important indications toward a theory of gender and society. This study attempts to fill a significant gap in the literature on Marx and offer some general insights into the intersectionality of gender and class.


1. Introduction
Reevaluating and developing Marx for feminist theory today
Overview of the book

2. The Early Writings on Gender and the Family
The 1844 Manuscripts
Labour and alienation
Gender in the 1844 Manuscripts
Women’s alienation in capitalist society
Modes of production and the course of history
Alienation, bourgeois morality and suicide
Revisiting the nature/culture and man/woman dualisms

3. Political Economy, Gender, and the ‘Transformation’ of the Family
Engels’s ‘Principles of Communism’ in relation to gender and the family
The Communist Manifesto
Nature and society in Capital
The political economy of Capital, Volume I
Gender and the family in Capital

4. Marx’s Journalism and Political Activities
The Preston strikes and women’s labour
The Bulwer-Lytton scandal
Women and the First International
Marx and the Kugelmanns
Women and the Paris Commune
After the Commune

5. Patriarchy, Women’s Oppression and Resistance: Comparing Marx and Engels on Gender and the Family in Precapitalist Societies
Marx’s notebooks and the history of The Origin of the Family
Separating Marx from Engels
Marx’s notebooks in historical context
Morgan’s Ancient Society
Marx’s notes on Morgan
Engels’s Origin of the Family, Private Property and the State
Engels’s uncritical acceptance of Morgan and Bachofen on women’s position in clan-societies
Comparing Marx and Engels on gender

6. The Family, the State and Property-Rights: The Dialectics of Gender and the Family in Precapitalist Societies
Maine’s Lectures on the Early History of Institutions
Marx’s notes on Maine
Marx’s notebooks on Ludwig Lange’s Römische Alterthümer

7. Conclusion
Evaluating Marx’s work on gender and the family for today