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Date of Award

9-1987

Degree Type

Thesis

Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA)

Department

Political Science

Supervisor

Marshall Goldstein

Language

English

Abstract

Karl Marx's political and social theory has its awn distinct and special account of the position of women and the family in pre-bourgeois and bourgeois society. It also has a special conception of human nature in terms of the nature of men and women in bourgeois society. There are partial statements on women and the family in many of the early writings of Marx. These statements, although they do not provide a full analysis, provide a framework for an early Marxist theory of the position of women and the family in bourgeois society. There presently exists no one source that has attempted to bring together for analysis and discussion all the collected statements on women and the family that were presented in Marx's early writings. This thesis is the first scholarly work to do so. There are twenty-seven distinct references to women and the family that appear in eight of Marx's works written between 1840 and 1850. For Marx, the position of women in society was at least partially determined by their place in the family unit which usually consisted of the husband, the wife, and the children and which was based upon relationships of private property. When Marx's early writings on women and the family are viewed together, they provide an historical and theoretical account of the position of women in pre-bourgeois and bourgeois society in terms of what constitutes such a position, what causes such a position, and how such a position can be improved.

McMaster University Library

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