Marx_Feb14

Marx_Feb14 - SOCIOLOGY 313 Development of Sociological...

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1 SOCIOLOGY 313 Development of Sociological Theory Karl Marx Key Points: ± Explain why, according to Marx, a worker becomes poorer the more he produces. ± Discuss Marx’s contribution to the social theory of work.
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2 Brief biography of Karl Marx ± Born in Trier, Prussia, in 1818 ± Studied law in Bonn and later Berlin ± Abandoned academia for radical journalism ± Moved to Paris, become a communist, and wrote Economic and Philosophical Manuscripts of 1844 ± Published The Communist Manifesto in 1848 ± Published the 1 st volume of The Capital in 1867 ± Expelled from France, Belgium and Prussia, he found asylum in England, where he died in 1883 Economic and Philosophical Manuscripts: KEY TERMS ± Bourgeoisie : the owners of the means of production ± Proletariat : the workers. ± Estrangement : a separation from something -- to stand as a stranger toward something. ± Alienation : much the same, except alienation refers to the feeling/perception as opposed to the condition ± Objectification: what is human and meaningful is turned into an object, a means to something rather than an end in itself. Thus, the work of our hands becomes only a means through which we gain physical subsistence. ± Commodity: something traded and exchanged in a market ± Ruling class/Bourgeoisie/Capitalists : those who own the means of production ± Working class : wage workers who do not own the means of their livelihood ± Interest of the ruling class: to ex ploit the workers in order to make profit ± Interest of the workers: to try their best to overcome that exploitation. ± Capitalism is thus a system of constant class conflict and struggle ± Unequal distribution of material wealth leads to social struggle – conflict between classes - provides motivation for historical development and change
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3 ± Labor becomes a commodity, not a source of meaning. ² Result: Workers become alienated from the product of their labor ± Exploitation is necessary to make a profit ² Result: More inequality over time. ± The pervasiveness of conflict in capitalist society: employer1 --------------- employer2 /| \ /|\ w1 -- w2 -- w3 w1 -- w2 -- w3 ² Competition (conflict ) between capitalists induces conflict between capitalist and worker, as well as competition (conflict ) between workers for scarce jobs ² Division of labor results in cheaper goods and simpler tasks, depressing wages and making workers less skilled The alienation of human labor ± Marx is looking out at the world around him and watching the mode of production of his time (industrial capitalism) destroy people. Theoretically, the first step in this destruction comes because the worker is alienated from his labor product. ± The alienation from the labor product follows because under capitalism, every object is turned into a commodity -- into something that can be made an object of exchange. Not only is the thing that a worker produces an object, but the worker is an object as well.
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Marx_Feb14 - SOCIOLOGY 313 Development of Sociological...

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