Marxism theory - Detailed notes.

Specifically relevant to students studying AQA A2 Sociology Unit 4 theory, but may well be of use to students studying other exam boards.

Notes include:

  • Private ownership and social class
  • Exploitation
  • Capitalists and workers
  • Class conflict
  • The ruling class
  • Dominant ideology
  • Revolution and Communism
  • Strengths of Marxism
  • Weaknesses of Marxism
  • Neo-Marxism: Gramsci
  • Neo-Marxism: Althusser
  • Neo-Marxism evaluation
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A2 Sociology Theory and Methods


Economic base underpinned and determined everything in society this consisted
o means of production (land, factories, labour)
o the relations of production (shared/private ownership/whether people are
paid to work)
Superstructure includes societies social institutions such as:
o Family
o Religion
o Education

Page 2

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A2 Sociology Theory and Methods

Class conflict

The exploitation of the proletariat created differences in interest between 2
classes, which in turn created conflict
Bosses wanted higher profits to expand business and wealth to compete with
one another
This was only achievable with low wages and hard labour

The Ruling…

Page 3

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A2 Sociology Theory and Methods

III. It recognises the importance of social structure and links this to ideas,
consciousness and behaviour of individuals and groups
IV. It remains a highly influential theory which has an influence on other theories such
as Weber and Marxist feminists

Weaknesses of Marxism

I. Marx's…

Page 4

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A2 Sociology Theory and Methods

Althusser and the economic, political and ideological levels

I. The economic level, consisting of the economy and production of material goods
II. The political level, consisting of government, organisations including repressive
state apparatus (army, police, courts)
III. The ideological level, consisting of ideas, beliefs and…




Fantastic summary of Marxism !

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