Social reproduction includes all the responsibilities and activities by which a society reproduces itself. These include domestic responsibilities, such as childcare, but also the related practices that the state carries out, such as schooling. More broadly, the processes of socialization include the naturalization of social norms so that people conform to them and continue in existing patterns.
Capitalism may undermine traditional means of social reproduction but need not necessarily do so. For people growing up within capitalist society, social reproduction includes socialization into the existing class positions. For example, a working person or member of the proletariat will grow up with the expectation that they, like their parents or grandparents, will work in a factory. The son of a rich factory owner will be raised to expect to continue in a privileged position. Social reproduction, therefore, reproduces the inequalities within a society, such as the uneven distribution of resources, including ownership of the means of production.
Marx and Engels were among those who noted the harmful effects on families when the state acted as an agent of capital and removed control over child socialization from the family. In this view, women are increasingly subordinated by the state, and their position worsens under capitalism.