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SOC227 Lecture 2.docx

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Gregory Bird

Lecture 2: Marx’s theory of Alienation  General background on Alienation a) Hegel: German Ideologist and philosopher  He called the dialectic of master and slaves.  Karl Marx applied what Hegel said.  Talks about classes in a society: makes distinction between mental labour (master perform–higher wages) Vs. manual labour (slaves/servants perform–working/lower class)  ―Masters are master in intellectual and slave in physical world‖ & ―slaves are masters in practical and slaves in intellectual world‖.  Mental labour:  Positive: the more you own, less physical labour you do, wealthy, consume lots of material, make profit, speak different languages- education, and acquire lot of knowledge.  Negative: become slavish, have knowledge but not practical knowledge (high intellectual knowledge, low practical knowledge), dependent on other people for food, shelter etc., if own a factory – know how to be a boss but don’t know how to function or fix it. Vulnerable, perish, don’t know how to survive on their own.  Conclusion: real master- someone who is independent. Human master is completely dependent on other people, not self-sufficient, ignorant.  Manual labour (slaves in terms of physical world):  Positive: lot of practical knowledge, lower intellectual knowledge, direct relationship with mediate world. If they revolt for long-period of time…they’ll survive, servants have the power (in reality)—control basic aspects that needs society to run. Eg. Transportation, food supplies etc. If servants take away their labour-system will collapse.  Negative: identity is underdeveloped because dependent on the masters, no time to read – illiterate, reduced to being a mere physical being – Karl Marx called them animals.  Conclusion: need to find a way to harmonize mastery and slavery. For democracy to work, people should have some practical knowledge. Everyone should have access to intellectual knowledge. Everyone should be both ―master‖ and ―slaves‖. Still society is based on masters and servants (patriarchy, gender etc.)  Types and dimensions (when you have all 4 dimensions together, high level of alienation) Dimension #1: Alienation from the Product:  Loss of reality  Experience objectification  2 sides to human action:  We make and do things and putting it out in social world (objectifying/estranging)  It will come back to us (product returns) …object  subject  Karl Marx said – objectification is not a bad thing. You can’t escape being objectified. We define ourselves as human beings by externalizing ourselves. World we live in = world we produce. This is human nature.  Marx: we make our world. ―We are doers and makers‖. It’s in work and making things, we become alienated. We become de-realized.  Karl said: the more you objectify yourself, the better the result will be. Example: the more you objectify yourself, the better your paper will be.  Humans produce and objectify stuff.  The more we are reflective on our society, the more advance we become.  ―Social-reflection‖  Problem:  System of ownership  Alienation  We don’t get to keep the things we make – we sell our labour for the wages – products/goods now belong to someone else – this is alienation.  Wages decrease, workers become more like animals.  We create stuff that belongs to others.  We externalize with them, we are identified with them but we are alienated.  Example of how we are alienated: Oshawa – wrong to drive a car other than general motor car because they are produced there
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