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Karl Marx - Historical Materialism. Marx & Historical Materialism 1) History of Marx & Marxism 2) Influences 3) Basic concepts (Aims of sociology, human.

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Presentation on theme: "Karl Marx - Historical Materialism. Marx & Historical Materialism 1) History of Marx & Marxism 2) Influences 3) Basic concepts (Aims of sociology, human."— Presentation transcript:

1 Karl Marx - Historical Materialism

2 Marx & Historical Materialism 1) History of Marx & Marxism 2) Influences 3) Basic concepts (Aims of sociology, human nature, historical materialism, class struggle) 4) Mode of production 5) Social Change: Revolution 6) Capitalism & Communism 7) Evaluation

3 History of Marx & Marxism Karl Marx ( ) Friedrich Engels ( ) Marx: joins radical movement; exiled from Germany; goes to Paris; goes to London & writes main works Engels: factory owner; socialist; scholar; aids Marx financially Both: important figures in the Socialist International

4 Important Writings EARLY: more about philosophy Economic and Philosophic Manuscripts (1844) MIDDLE: more about politics The Communist Manifesto (1848) (with Engels) LATER: more about economics Das Kapital (Capital) (1867)

5 Influences Theory: German Philosophy -Hegel: social change comes through social struggles and conflicts (dialectics) -Feuerbach: deal with the real world, not just ideas about it (materialism) Analysing economy: British political economy -Adam Smith: study the division of labour Politics: French Socialism - Saint-Simon: must create a new society, based on cooperation between classes, not conflict

6 Basic Concepts 1) Aim of sociology (Historical Materialism): -Create knowledge critical of existing society -Inform the working classes of their oppression -Encourage revolution – abolition of capitalist society -Build new socialist, then communist, society

7 2) Human nature Human being is fundamentally a social animal (agreement with Durkheim) Human nature changes over time: - shaped by particular societies (e.g. human nature in capitalism: selfish human nature in communism: cooperative)

8 Part of human nature remains constant: - Humans creative / creativity in making things - Making things creatively allows self- expression -Humans like working (if allowed to do so freely & creatively; but not if forced to) -Good society: allows creativity in work -Bad society: forced to work, work uncreative

9 3) Historical Materialism -Always see the material aspects of society as the most important -The ideal elements of society are less important -(Contrast with Durkheim and, partly, Weber)

10 Ideal aspects: Ideas and beliefs (e.g. morals and religion) Ways of thinking Culture (Emphasis on ideal comes from Hegel)

11 Marxs breakthrough Concentrate on material aspects: - people making things (production) - people working (labour) -people acting on raw materials to make goods -humans transforming Nature for their use

12 Historical Materialism Materialism: -looks at material factors in society -emphasises production and labour over ideal factors Historical: -looks at changes over time in material factors -social change produced by changes in material factors -Human history = changes in how people work & make things

13 4) Class and class struggle Two basic types of society: -Class-less societies (e.g. communism) -Class-based societies (e.g. capitalism) Within class-based societies: -Classes are the most important social groups -Different classes are antagonistic to each other

14 Classes are antagonistic to each other as each class has its own interests Class interest: to be the most powerful group in society (especially in terms of wealth) Class struggle: classes always in conflict with each other to be the most powerful Human history – driven by conflicts between classes; classes win, classes lose

15 Dominant class(es) Subordinate class(es) RulersRuled LeadersFollowers Power: Powerless: political & economicpolitically/economically Political; Control the governmentRuled by government Economic: Control productionCarry out production Controllers of economyWorkers Economy benefits themExploited

16 Mode of Production ECONOMIC BASE Forces Relations of production FUNCTIONING SHAPES SOCIAL SUPERSTRUCTURE Ways of thinking, values, ideas Social institutions

17 Mode of Production (1) Most important idea of Marx (in later writings) Production = making things Production is essential: food, clothes, shelter, etc. Making things = transforming Nature Making things = using TOOLS to transform RAW MATERIALS into useable GOODS Consumption = using those goods (& so staying alive)

18 Mode of Production (2) Production is a SOCIAL ACTIVITY Individual humans cannot make much on their own - Must work cooperatively with others - Division of labour: different people have different jobs - Production has to be managed Different forms of management = different types of society

19 Mode of Production (3) Production is a SOCIAL ACTIVITY In class-based societies: -Ruling class controls production -Ruling class OWN tools, raw materials and finished good (class of OWNERS) -Subordinate classes do the actual work (class of NON-OWNERS) (workers) -Division of labour: OWNERS & NON-OWNERS -Ruling class reaps the benefits -Subordinate classes lose out

20 Mode of Production (4) Most important things in society are MATERIAL FACTORS (production, work, division of labour) Less important are IDEAL FACTORS (ideas and beliefs) ECONOMIC BASE (primary) shapes SOCIAL SUPERSTRUCTURE (secondary)

21 ECONOMIC BASE FORCES ofRELATIONS ofPRODUCTION Scientific knowledgeSocial relations Technological knowledgewhich control & Technology (tools)organize production Raw materials Labour force (people)Class of OWNERS controls class of NON-OWNERS (workers)

22 SOCIAL SUPERSTRUCTURE 1) Ways of thinking, values, ideas (Forms of social consciousness) (Ideologies) 2) Social institutions -Religion -Family -Education -Government / the State

23 ECONOMIC BASE shapes SOCIAL SUPERSTRUCTURE BASE controlled by RULING CLASS SO SUPERSTRUCTURE controlled by RULING CLASS too -Dominant ideologies reflect ruling class interests -Dominant ideologies justify rule of the rulers -Social institutions work in ruling class interests

24 Social institutions work in ruling class interests (Marxist functionalism) Family: 1)instils dominant ideologies in young 2)breeds and looks after workers Education: instils dominant ideologies in young Media: spreads dominant ideologies Government: controls NON-OWNERS / protects OWNERS interests / ensures social stability

25 Mode of Production ECONOMIC BASE Forces Relations of production FUNCTIONING SHAPES SOCIAL SUPERSTRUCTURE Ways of thinking, values, ideas Social institutions

26 Types of Mode of Production 1) Primitive communism (primitive society, no classes, very low division of labour, all work together) 2) Ancient mode of production (ancient Greece and Rome, aristocracy and slaves, slaves do most of the work) 3) Feudalism (medieval Europe, aristocratic lords and peasants, peasants do all the work) 4) Capitalism 5) Socialism / Communism

27 Social Change: Revolution Social change = transition from one mode of production to another That transition entails a revolution Revolutions occur in the ECONOMIC BASE Forces of production change, transforming relations of production Changes in BASE lead to changes in SUPERSTRUCTURE: whole society transformed

28 Revolution: from feudalism to capitalism FEUDALISMS ECONOMIC BASE Forces Relations of production AgricultureAristocratic lords & peasants FEUDALISMS SOCIAL SUPERSTRUCTURE Ways of thinking: Catholic Christianity Social institutions: Catholic Church, family

29 Revolution: from feudalism to capitalism CHANGING ECONOMIC BASE (happening from 16th to 19th centuries) Forces Relations of production IndustrialismPower of aristocratic (factory production)lords taken over by a new class: Produced by:capitalists (bourgeoisie) Scientific innovations Technological developments Peasants move to cities Become workers in factories (proletariat)

30 CAPITALISM CAPITALISMS ECONOMIC BASE Forces Relations of production IndustrialismCapitalists & proletarians CAPITALISMS SOCIAL SUPERSTRUCTURE Ways of thinking: capitalist ideologies (religion no longer required) (Capitalism allows individual freedom, democracy, social mobility, etc.) Social institutions: family, media, government

31 CAPITALISM TODAY? CAPITALISMS ECONOMIC BASE Forces Relations of production Post-IndustrialismCapitalists (service sector, Managerial class computers & IT,Proletarians stock markets)(white collar, McWorkers) CAPITALISMS SOCIAL SUPERSTRUCTURE Ways of thinking: capitalist ideologies (social mobility, meritocracy, consumerism) Social institutions: media, welfare state

32 From Capitalism to Communism 1)Forces of production develop, change relations of production (technology develops – no need for manual labour – no need for a working class) 2) Capitalism contradictory (capitalist seek profit, always in competition with each other, eventually no profits to be made, system falls apart) 3) Proletariat come to realise they are being exploited: revolution

33 Communist Mode of Production ECONOMIC BASE Forces Relations of production Highly developedClasses abolished machines doing most routine workAll work together in cooperation Humans working All contribute to society freely & creativelyAll get what they need SUPERSTRUCTURE Ways of thinking: end of ideologies, truth Social institutions: withering away of the state: communities govern themselves; true democracy

34 Evaluation 1) Overemphasises material over ideal factors - things like religion just as real as work 2) Reductionist -oversimplifies a complex reality -explains everything in terms of production & classes (but not all things can be explained that way) 3) Overly politicised -not really social science - too biased -more like propaganda & wishful thinking

35 Evaluation (2) 1) Production at the heart of human life 2) Outdated? Still applicable: -We still live in capitalist society -Marxs ideas can be reworked to fit todays conditions 3) Requires sociologist to be highly critical of current society -reject dominant ideologies -get at deeper truths


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