Marxism Define this perspective and outline in detail its goals, methods, fundamental concepts, and principle contributors. Evaluate the usefulness of this perspective in understanding social life and social interaction. Issues to consider could include: famous and controversial theories; the problem of social order; class, gender, ethnicity, media or religion Amber Gallagher Teacher: Conor Bendle Word count: 1,216 Due: Tuesday, 16th March 2004No thinker in the 19th Century has had such a direct, deliberate andpowerful influence upon mankind as Karl Marx, and now his concept ofMarxism is a major perspective in modern sociology. Karl Marx’srevolutionary philosophies lead to the practice of socialism and communism,then ultimately the overthrow of an entire capitalist society and the stateinstitutions that had brought it into being, through the CommunistRevolutions in Eastern Europe and China during the last century.Order now
The mainconcepts that create the theory of Marxism are: a criticism of capitalism,a classless society and classical political economics. Karl Marx’s famoustheories to help define Marxism include: dialectical materialism, the lawof development and the mode of production. Within his lifetime, a newrevolutionary practice was formed, and Marx’s name would be foreverassociated with that practice (Kreis, 2003). The German-born Karl Marx was a philosopher, social scientist, historianand revolutionary, and possibly the most influential socialist thinker toemerge from the nineteenth century (Kreis, 2003). He completed the greaterpart of his work between 1844 and 1883, during periods of democraticnationalism, trade unionism and revolution. He had an acute sense ofinjustice and was repelled by the rhetoric of the intellectuals, who wereremote from reality, and the self-righteous contentment of the bourgeoisie,as he found they were hypocritical and blinded by their wealth and status(Kreis, 2003).
Fredrich Engels was essentially a social philosopher, and was the co-founder of the modern communist theory with Karl Marx. In 1847 Engels andMarx began writing a pamphlet based on Engels’ The Principles of Communism. The 12,000-word pamphlet was finished in six weeks, written in such amanner as to make communist theory understandable to a wide audience. Itwas named The Communist Manifesto and was published in February 1848. AfterMarx’s death in 1883 Engels devoted the rest of his life to editing andtranslating Marx’s writings. Marxism can sometimes be defined as the theory of dialectical materialismbased on communist practice.
Dialectical Materialism is a way ofunderstanding reality; whether thoughts, emotions, or the material world. The materialist dialectic is the theoretical foundation of Marxism, whilebeing communist is the practice of Marxism (Marxists. org, 2003), wherecommunists actively support the interests of the working class and live tounite workers regardless of gender, nationality, race or ideology (Perry,2002). Dialectics in Marx referred to opposing forces in reality: internaland inherent forces whose mutual conflicts produce metamorphoses. Men areproducts of their environment in general and their economic environment inparticular (Sowell, 1985).
This dialectical idea of self-destructionthrough self-fulfillment is predominantly stating that the culture destroysitself by perfecting itself (Wolton, 1996). Marx distinguished five broad stages in the formation of a bourgeoissociety. He named these Modes of Production. In Marx’s writings the fivemajor historical modes of production are: primitive communism, the ancientmode of production, Asiatic mode of production, feudism and capitalism(Evans, 1993; Perry, 2002).
Social development from the lowest stage to thehighest was marked by increases in human powers of production, theelaboration of the division of labour, and the rise of the institution ofprivate property. The contradictions within the highest existing stage(i. e. : a bourgeois society) would lead to its replacement by a still higherstage: communism (Evans, 1993). Socialism and communism were conceived asfuture modes of production that would liberate humanity from exploitationand oppression, using the general increase in the productive forces for thegeneral good. Marx and Engel maintained that this mode of production openeda new possibility of a classless society: socialism.
They devoted theirlife’s work to the achievement of this goal (Perry, 2002). In modern capitalism, large capitalist employers exploit workers by notpaying them the full worth of their labour. Marx considered that theprogression of capitalism, each technical advance and each accretion ofproductivity, was bought at the price of the exploitation and suffering ofworkers (Evans, 1993). In his theory on the capitalist system, Marxreferrers to the de-humanisation of the worker, with the implication thatthis system of production denies them something that is their due as humanbeings. He argued that capitalism had either destroyed morality .