SOC 233 Sept. 19, 2011
Q – Is Marxism dead?
Does not go to explain modern class-based inequalities.
Q – Are Marx’s theories and predictions still useful?
1 . Marxist View of Race/Ethnicity
Racism was not prominent in Marx’s writings.
Class, as a social category, can explain racial inequalities.
Racial exploitation is merely one aspect of the problem of the proletarianization of labour.
Racial antagonism is political-class conflict.
eg) Robert Miles – Black people represent a racialized fragment of the working class; low wages,
worse working conditions, longer hours.
Note – Focus is not on race, but on class position within capitalist economy which works hand-in-hand.
2 . Marxism and Gender
The role/status of women is attributable to capitalism.
Capitalism gives rise to economic inequality, dependence, political confusion and ultimately
unhealthy social relations between men and women.
Capitalism is the root of women’s oppression in the current social context.
Marxist Feminism – Marx’s category of “production” leaves out many traditional female
activities; category of “reproduction.”
Note – Women’s subordination is a result of capitalism. Unpaid, reproductive work of women “benefits”
capitalism; women rejuvenate men at home by creating a haven.
3 . Marxist Views of Crime
Society is divided by power, wealth and prestige.
The law is the mechanism by which one social class (i.e., ruling class), keeps all the other classes
in a disadvantaged position.
Deviance is partly the product of unequal power relations and inequality.
Crime and deviance can only be understood in terms of capitalism and class struggle.
Note – Capitalism creates inequality which leads to deviance. Increased greed and profits lead people to
* Print slide regarding differences between Marx and Durkheim. Functionalism
Durkheim (1858 – 1917)
French academic who helped establish sociology as a social science discipline.
Religion played an important role in his theorizing.
Influenced by the political and social unrest in France.
Studied social life in modern societies.
Argues that we need to look at other social factors to explain social