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Lecture 4

SOC231H5 Lecture Notes - Lecture 4: Consumerism, Robert Reich, Class Conflict

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Zaheer Baber

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SOC231 Lecture 4 - Marx Continued
Historical materialism
How social change happens throughout history
Looks at changes in structural society and brought about by human
Method/perspective to understand social change
How do humans acting as agents, transform society
Mode of production of material life determines general character of social,
political and spiritual processes of life
Basic understanding Marx has of human beings = human world is created in
particular modes (feudalism, slavery, etc.) and any production that occurs in
society, occurs to the use of certain materials - without which production
cannot occur
As feudalism develops more further, new institutions emerge which are limited
- cannot become dominant
Humans cannot survive without producing (material things)
Society structured in a way with certain sets of ideology
Historical materialism is NOT a teleological evolutionary formula predicting social
What is “Teleology”?
Already known
Seed to tree VS social change
Marx reject teleology
Social change is NOT predetermined; not the same as change in NATURE
Combination of “Social structure/Ideology”
Perspective that represents a narrow idea but does so universally
i. Ideology as bad breath - bias aware of others ideology
ii. Connected to power - or ‘Dominant Ideology’
Marx; the ideas of ruling class are in every epoch the ruling ideas
Ruling classes are able to propagate their ideology more effectively because of
resources that are available - those people/classes become important
The Origins of Industrial Capitalism in Europe
Primitive Accumulation; colonialism, plunder/theft of natural resources and labor via
Primitive = early stage (still advanced)
Essential - first thinker to factor in slavery and enokumber
‘The discovery of gold and silver in America, extirpation, enslavement and
entombment in mines of aboriginal population, the beginning of the conquest and
looting the east indies’
Marx; dialectical in society
Changes in Europe both “cause” and “effect” of colonialism and transAtlantic slavery
”Cause” and “Effect” intertwined, connected
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