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A2 Sociology - Sociological theory lesson 8

Marxism
by

Amanda Lane

on 17 January 2014

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Transcript of A2 Sociology - Sociological theory lesson 8

MARXISM
Marxism shares one thing in common with functionalism; the notion that society is a system that shapes behaviour and ideas.
However....
Marxism differs from functionalism in 2 ways:
Conflict of interests
Instability and change
Conflict of interests
Between social class relating to power and wealth
Instability and change
Possibility of profound and revolutionary change. Stability is the result of the dominant class imposing their ideology.
So how did it all start....
Well, like Durkers, Marx observed how dramatically society changed during the industrial revolution.
But whilst Durkers saw the 'fluffy' side of this change (harmonious and efficient functioning of society) Marx saw that this change spelt misery and suffering caused by capitalism.
Marx foresaw that the process of capitalism would ultimately create a classless society, giving way to communism.
Marx's Marxism
Marx theorised about human history, capitalism and communist society. Here are some of his key ideas.
Materialism:
The idea that people have material needs; clothes, food, shelter. These things are not readily available and therefore need to be produced.
This is known as the 'means of production'
Social relations of production
Division of labour
Owners of the means of production
Those who serve it
The birth of the class system
Pre-industrial labour was unaided by machines
The organising of production through cooperation and machinery.
This process is known as the 'mode of production' which is currently underpinned by capitalism.....
The mode of production (capitalism) forms the economic base of society.
Base superstructure
The birth of exploitation
There was a time when there were no classes, no private ownership or exploitation. The wealth was shared as everyone worked. This is known as 'primitive communism'.
As the need for production increased, one class branched out to own the means of production. This allowed them to exploit others for the benefit of themselves.
Marx identified 3 successive class societies with their own forms of exploitation:
Ancient society
Feudal society
Capitalist society
Slaves
Serfs
Labourers
The birth of Capitalism
Bourgeoisie
Proletariat
Own the means of production
Sell their labour power in exchange for wages
The proletariat do not receive the value of the goods that are produced - only their wages as a means of subsistence.
The difference between the two is known as 'surplus value' which equates to profit for the Bourgeoisie when the products are sold.
For example:
Chewbacca works in a factory making ipods
On a good day, he can make 10 ipods
Chewbacca is on minimum wage as he is a factory worker and he is only 19. He gets 4.98 per hour. He works 8 hours a day.
An ipod touch retails in an apple store for £169
£
£
So what is the surplus value for Chewbacca's daily production of ipods?
He earns £39.84 per day
Chewbacca's productivity is worth £1690 per day
The surplus value Chewbacca produces in 1 day is
£1650.16
For a 5 day week that's
Most people work 48 weeks a year so that's
£8250.80
£396,038.40
If that is the surplus value for 1 worker, think about how much a whole factory's worth of people can make? And that just one factory....
Typically, the forces of production expand in its pursuit of profit and the means of production becomes concentrated. (TNC's)
This results in the 'deskilling' of the work force and class 'polarisation': The poor become poorer and the rich become richer.
Polarisation of the classes causes a class consciousness - the need of the working class (proletariat) to overthrow capitalism and end their exploitation.
Ideology
As the ruling classes own the means of production they also own the means of ideas. Institutions produce and spread the ideas that serve the ruling class.
Ideologies are the ideas and beliefs that justify the social order as desirable and inevitable. They sustain class inequalities and masks the exploitation the working class suffer. This is known as false consciousness.
Alienation
Workers have no control and are completely separate from the forces of production.
The division of labour at its most prolific reduces workers to unskilled, performing mindless, repetitive tasks.
Marx's vision
Marx envisioned that there will inevitably be an uprising of the proletariat to overthrow the oppressive ruling class. If this happens the following will be expected:
Classless communist society through the abolition of the state.
Replace private ownership with social ownership.
Production for human need not profit.
End alienation and give control back to the labourers.
How can this be linked to explain crime and deviance?
Lesson Objective:
To understand the finer aspects of Marxism and apply this to C& D
Full transcript