Marxism's view on society

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  • Marxist's view on society
  • It is a structural and conflict theory
    • Where conflict occurs between the classes (Bourgeoisie, Petite-Bourgeoisie and Proletariat)
    • It believes that capitalism is unequal and communism is the better way for society to function
      • Capitalism is a social and economic system that is based on making money- it benefits the bourgeoisie.
        • Exploits the workers and they do not get full value of their work; but labour is fundamental.
  • Marx saw private ownership as a means of production; which is owned by the higher class
    • capitalism serves the bourgeoisie, keeping them at the top.
      • This can be linked to heritage and the ownership of property- kept in a way that will be passed down through wealthy families; this is why the nuclear family is important to the bourgeoisie.
        • The family is a mechanism through which private property (a key part of capitalism) could be passed on heirs – as parents living in a monogamous relationship
  • Alienation is where the relationship between human labour and human nature is perverted by capitalism, because our labour is owned and controlled by capitalists and is no longer an expression of our principles and purpose.
    • The bourgeoisie own everything to do with labour, leaving the proletariat's only to have power over social situations such as food and sex. This could be why the drive of 'Binge Britian' and 'Teenage pregnancy' have risen to dramatically.
  • Althusser
    • Ideological state apparatus=  The economic level, consisting of the economy and production of material goods. Such as schools, the idea to enforce capitalist norms into people from a young age. This is also done in the nuclear family, and the ideology to serve this society,
    • Repressive state apparatus= The political level, consisting of government, organisations  (army, police, courts) To repress and keep society in line of the capitalist society.
  • Criticisms
    • Communism failed all over the world, of those who are communist, they've embraced capitalism(China).
    • Theres a problem with relying on the proletariat to kick off revolution; they are not keen on leading, meaning middle class academics call for class struggle- the proletariat tend to be conservative.
    • It ignores gender; men's labour depends on the unpaid labour of women, rearing and maintaining the future of workers.
      • Marxist feminist argue that the family mens a slave driver for women, as they rear the next working generation.  Benston 'wage of slave wage.'
    • Marxism focuses a lot on production rather than consumption. Many people are employed in creative jobs that are there to come up with inventions for people to buy.
    • Marx had this idea that humanity would improve the more it exploited natural resources- this has resulted in a massive ecological crisis.
  • Neo-Marxism
    • Focuses on a less capitalist economy, and more on capitalist culture and how it keeps the proletariat in the dark about their exploitation.
    • False class consciousness is a key aspect of neo-marxism theory. It refers to how the proletariat are kept unaware of their exploitation under capitalism.
    • The Neo-Marxists use the term hegemony to refer to how the bourgeoisie dominate our culture with norms and values. This makes sure that the proletariats do not challenge them, and will accept their rules.
    • Criticisms:
      • Neo-Marxism is useful because it tries to make classical Marxism relevant to the social world.
      • It provides a useful platform for examining conflict in relation to ethnicity and race in modern, multicultural and global societies.
      • But they reduce economic factors down too much in favour of culture and ideology. We're in recession and the economy has never been relevant to examining society.
  • Marxists & Education
    • Education legitimizes inequality through ideology
    • Education teaches children about the norms and values of a capitalist society, and the ideology they should follow.
    • It socialises children into the world of work, and how they will have to follow the ruling class; as they have the power.
    • Bowles & Gintis explain that children are taught to accept the hierarchy. As they will have to do boring work to get good results (grades, or wages) there will be no change in this.
  • Crime
    • White-Collar Crime: Crime committed by middle/upper class individuals, which are often hidden from the public eye.
      • Corporate Crime: crimes carried out on behalf of a company such as tax evasion.
      • Occupational Crime: crimes carried out at the expense of companies like fraud; at benefit of an individual.
      • White collar crime is very difficult to prosecute; due to problems of who is responsible and who is a victim. Much of it is dealt with administratively, where money is involved- rather than court.


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