IPE Session 6 Marxism 2

IPE Session 6 Marxism 2 - Session5(L)1 Marxism (Continued)...

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Session 5 (L)        1 Marxism (Continued) Structuralism The underlying notion uniting the ideas of what we will call structuralism, is that Structure conditions outcome. Since capitalism was primarily a national phenomenon in Marx's time he focused most of his analysis on national economies and how the class structure resulted in exploitation, conflict, and crisis within nation-states. Structuralism is an approach to the human sciences that attempts to analyze a specific field (for instance, mythology) as a complex system of interrelated parts. Marxism has come to have two streams of thought: instrumental and structuralist. We will focus on the latter as this is what Marxism (after Marx) is focused around. Structuralist Marxism disputes the instrumentalist view that the state can be viewed as the direct servant of the capitalist or ruling class. (Whereas the instrumentalist position argues that the institutions of the state are under the direct control of those members of the capitalist class in positions of state power, the structuralist perspective takes the position that the institutions of the state must function in such a way as to ensure ongoing viability of capitalism more generally.) Another way that Marxists put this is that the institutions of the state must function so as to reproduce capitalist society as a whole . That is to say, capitalism creates a structure that reproduces capitalist society. The structure may have been created by ruling classes but it attains a degree of independence and functions as a machine to guide society (e.g. World Systems Theory). This structure conditions outcome. Structuralists view the state in a capitalist mode of production as taking a specifically capitalist form, not because particular individuals are in powerful positions, but because the state reproduces the logic of capitalist structure in its economic, legal, and political institutions . We might say that a structuralist perspective would argue that the institutions of the state (including its legal institutions) function in the long-term interests of capital and capitalism, rather than in the short term interests of members of the capitalist class. Structuralists would thus argue that the state and its institutions have a certain degree of independence from specific elites in the ruling or capitalist class. Marx and Structuralism a) Marx can be seen as a structuralist in that he focused on how the structure of capitalism conditioned or determined its fate. b) Marx focused almost exclusively on the production structure in his analysis, giving relatively little attention to the finance, security, and knowledge structures.
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Session 5 (L)        2 Karl Marx Marx argued that all mental systems (ideologies) were the products of social and economic realities. To these realities he ascribed religious beliefs, legal systems and cultural expression. Marx emphasized that it is not the consciousness of men that determines their social being,
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This note was uploaded on 05/21/2010 for the course X 110 taught by Professor Xyz during the Spring '10 term at Louisiana College.

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IPE Session 6 Marxism 2 - Session5(L)1 Marxism (Continued)...

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