SCLY 4 Revision – Sociological Theory
· Described his theory as ‘scientific socialism’ – as knowledge would point the way to a better society.
· Saw progress as a contradictory process in which capitalism would increase human misery before giving way to a classless communist society in which human beings would be free to fulfil their potential.
· He was a revolutionary socialist.
· His ideas came to form the basis of communism.
· Marxism became the official doctrine of the Soviet Union and other communist states.
· His key ideas about human history, and capitalism and its replacement by a future communist society:
· Materialism = the view that humans are beings with material needs and must therefore work to meet them.
· By working, they use the forces of production / means of production.
· Earliest stages of human history – these forces are unaided human labour.
· Over time, people develop tools and machines to assist in production.
· By working to meet their needs, humans co-operate with one another.
· They enter into social relations of production – ways of organising production.
· As the forces of production grow and develop, the social relations of production also change.
· A division of labour develops.
· Which eventually gives way to a division between 2 classes:
Ø Bourgeoisie – who own the means of production
Ø Proletariat – a class of labourers
· From then on, production is directed by the class of owners to meet their own needs.
· Forces of production + relations of production = mode of production.
Ø E.g. in today’s society, we have a capitalist mode of production.
· The mode of production forms the economic base of society.
· This shapes or determines all other features of society.
Ø E.g. the superstructure of institutions, ideas, beliefs and behaviour.
v Which shape the nature of religion, the law and education.
Class society & exploitation:
· Earliest stage of human history – there were no classes, no private ownership and no exploitation.
· Everyone worked and everything was shared.
· He calls this ‘primitive communism’.
· As the forces of production grow, different types of class society come and go.
· Class societies – one class owns the means of production.
· They can exploit the labour of others for their own benefit.
· They can control society’s surplus product – the difference between what the labourers produce and what is needed to keep them alive.
· Identifies 3 successive class societies:
Ø Ancient society – based on the exploitation of claves legally tied to their owners.
Ø Feudal society – based on the exploitation of serfs legally tied to their owners.
Ø Capitalist society – based on the exploitation of free…