Sociology of Theory Lecture 5

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Published on 30 Sep 2011
School
McMaster University
Department
Sociology
Course
SOCIOL 2S06
Professor
Page:
of 3
September 22, 2011
Some of Marx’s Key Concepts
A) Dialectical or Historical Materialism
B) Concepts connected to production
1. The modes of Production
-Is the overall system of economic activity in a society, he suggested there
has been historical progression in the development of the mode of
production. It has changed - feudalism to capitalism
-Slavery - economic system in which people are legally owned by others and
engaged in force services
-Antiquity - historical period before the middle ages, before medieval times
(ie. ancient Athens, Rome)
-Feudalism - economic system in which people work the land for others in
exchange for a share of the food production. Was the mode of production in
Europe during the middle ages
-Capitalism - Economic system in which people who own private property
utilize the labour of others in the pursuit of profit
-Marx was interested in this mode of production *
2. Each mode of production combines into 2 component parts
1. Forces of Production
2. Social Relations of Production
Forces of Production
-All those things that are needed for production to occur
-Forces of production are made up of the means of production and the
productive labour
Means of Production
-Property utilized in production
-Land, Raw Materials, Technology, Buildings etc.
Productive Labour
-Made up of people who utilize skills, knowledge, and experience in the
process of production
Social Relations of Production
-Relationships between the main classes involved in production
-Owning property class and the non-owning propertyless (basic split in every
mode of production) takes different forms historically
-Antiquity - split between masters and slaves
-Feudalism - split between lords and serfs
-Capitalism - split between bourgeoisie and proletariats
*Marx argued class position must be seen in terms of means of production (either own
or do not own means of production - how he defined class)
C) Marxs 2 Class Model
-Understand how societies are structured and how they change
1. General Aspects of the Model
-According to Marx, in any given mode of production there is opposition
between the interests of owners and non owners
-In any given mode of production, the non owners will enter into an exchange
relationship with the owners
-Non owners supply labour, and receive income from owners or other means
to survive
-Involves coercion -
-Slavery - very clear in case of slavery since slaves are legally required to
work for masters
-Feudalism - Serfs are required to work for lords, don’t have a lot of options
2. The Model Under Capitalism
-Closer look at classes involved - division between bourgeoisie and
proletariats
The Bourgeoisie
-Capitalist class or Capitalists
-They do own the means of production, property, technology etc.
The Proletariat
-The working class, workers
-Do not own the means of production - work in or with means of production
(factories, technology)
-Sell their labour to capitalists in exchange for a wage
Exchange Relationship
-Coercion involved - less direct
-Proletariat are not legally required or forced into it - they do not have a lot of
choice
D) Marxs Recognition of Middle Classes
1. The Petty bourgeoisie
-Middle class within the capitalist mode of production
-Independent producers or owners - farmers, small business
-Own the means of production
-Unlike capitalists - hire few if any workers -
2. Middle Estates or Strata
-Unclear weather he was actually referring to additional middle classes or if
he meant these terms (strata, ranks, middle class) as the petty bourgeoisie
-Died just before applying theory of classes together so we don’t know what
these references are about
3. The Disappearance of Middle Classes
-Thought middle classes would largely disappear from capitalist mode of
production
-Some of these middle classes or members of these middle classes would be
absorbed into the bourgeoisie (rise up)
-However, thought that most members of these middle classes would fall into
the proletariat
Marx’s Analysis of Explanation and Alienation
A) The Nature of Productive Work
-Productive work is good
-The human ability to create things is satisfying and rewarding
-Productive work is good because it allows us to be social - communal engine
-Argued that productive work has turned into something bad - under capitalist
mode of production there is exploitation and alienation - undesirable aspects
of production process
B) Exploitation
-Refers to a process through which the property class appropriates the labour
effort of the propertyless class for its own material advantage

Document Summary

Some of marx"s key concepts: dialectical or historical materialism, concepts connected to production, the modes of production. Is the overall system of economic activity in a society, he suggested there has been historical progression in the development of the mode of production. Slavery - economic system in which people are legally owned by others and engaged in force services. Antiquity - historical period before the middle ages, before medieval times (ie. ancient athens, rome) Feudalism - economic system in which people work the land for others in exchange for a share of the food production. Capitalism - economic system in which people who own private property utilize the labour of others in the pursuit of profit. Marx was interested in this mode of production : each mode of production combines into 2 component parts. All those things that are needed for production to occur. Forces of production are made up of the means of production and the productive labour.