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Lecture 4

Week 4 Readings P2.docx

5 Pages

Sociology and Anthropology
Course Code
SOAN 2112
Linda Hunter

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Week 5 Readings – continued from Week 4 – Zeitlin Ch. 15 & 16 – SOC 2111/2 Chapter 15: Marx’s Historical Sociology - Marx and Engels had proposed that callous self-interest governs individuals, classes, and nations, driving the world forward - Marx’s focus on the connections between economic development and social- class formation was reduced to a form of technological determinism - Economic and historical changes were thus made to depend directly on technical changes in the instruments of work - In time, both economic and technological determinism came to be regarded as one-sided and misleading Marx’s Famous “Preface” - A Contribution to the Critique of Political Economy o Legal relations as well as forms of sate – rooted in the material conditions of life o In the social production which men carry on they enter into definite relations that are indispensible and independent of their will; these relations of production correspond to a definite stage of development of their material powers of production o With change of the economic foundation the entire immense superstructure is more or less rapidly transformed - “mode of production… determines the general character of the social, political and spiritual processes of life” – it is social existence that determines social consciousness - Engels discovered after Marx’s death that their so-called materialist conception of history” was widely misunderstood, he undertook to clarify their position in several letters - The effect of these letters was to reaffirm the causal priority of economic conditions - we are justified in saying that Marx and Engels must share responsibility for the widespread and persistent misunderstanding of their views o must also share responsibility for their impression that they were social evolutionists and that the only difference between them and other 19 century evolutionists was that they designated the ‘mode of production’ as the motor of evolutionary change Tribal Ownership - Marx and Engels introduced the concept “mode of production” o It embraces both productive forces and relations of production - 4 components of societies “productive forces (pg 156 if needed) - relations of production refers to property relations or forms of ownership - productive forces speaks to the question of how a society produce its means of livelihood and goods, relations of production addresses the question of who owns and/or controls a society’s productive resources - mode of production is an essential element in an analysis of how and why slavery has appeared in a given society, or why other significant changes have occurred within it Week 5 Readings – continued from Week 4 – Zeitlin Ch. 15 & 16 – SOC 2111/2 - retinues – private associations of warriors recruited on the basis of their military skills - differences of wealth thus increased inside the clans, severely weakening the democratic-communal character of Germanic society as it existed at the time. - For Engels, private property among the Germanic peoples developed out of several conditions – old Germanic tradition of treating the family dwelling as sacred and inviolable – the Roman Influence – there were the retinues, which had become permanent, and of mixed clan composition. - For Marx and Engels, it is clear, feudal serfdom was an outgrowth of war and military conquest which disrupted the old tribal pattern by turning retinue leaders and other military chieftains into sovereigns and lords Productive Forces: Did Marx in Fact Assign them Causal Priority? - as the instruments of production vary, so does the division of labour – but not necessarily the nature of the society as a whole - Marx proposes a king of archeology based on changing forms of instruments as labour. Marx understood, however, that from tools alone only limited inferences can be made about social forms - Productive forces are fundamental for Marx in this sense: the level of their development is the necessary but not sufficient condition for their emergence of certain social formations - There are no good grounds for believing that Marx viewed productive forces as universal, ever-expanding lever of social changes The Feudal Mode of Production - Marx no where attempts to explain the establishment of feudalism as a result of the growing productive forces. He also sees the origins of feudalism in several closely connected circumstances -the disintegration of the Roman Empire into a multiplicity of military chieftainships - Marx and Engels stress the role of force and violence. They also criticize others for neglecting the role of force and for interpreting the transition from slavery to serfdom as unambiguous evolutionary progress - Engels gave due attention to force, and to antagonisms and retrogressions - For Marx and Engels, the establishment and development of feudal serfdom are complex processes to which war and other historical events contributed - Marx – Capitalism was regarded as the first revolutionary mode of production The Asiatic Mode of Production - Marx and Engels (1853) began to give more sustained attention to Asia - Their interest was prompted by British colonial behaviour in China and India - Marx stressed the stationary character, economically speaking, of that part of Asia, and
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