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Lecture 3

Lecture 3- September 23.docx

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Zaheer Baber

Lecture 3 September 23, 2013 Historical Materialism  Method/perspective for understanding social change o Understanding how structures are created in society and how they change  Not a formula for predicting the future  Marx (1859):”the mode of production of material life determines the general character of the social, political and spiritual processes of life. It is not the consciousness of men that determines their being, but, on the contrary, their social being determines their consciousness. At a certain stage of their development, the material forces of production in society come in conflict with the existing relations of production. From forms of development of the forces of production these relations turn into their fetters. Then occurs a period of social revolution” o Abstract formulation that can help us understand how social change happens  Material context is important o i.e. listening to ideas in a lecture but it becomes material when you write it down Key Concepts  mode of production: ancient, tribal, Asiatic, feudalism, capitalism o Marx- humans only species that produces what they need  forces of production (means of production): land, capital, technology, tools, later knowledge etc. o elements without which production is not possible o knowledge becomes a force of production- without this, we cannot have high end production o struggles over intellectual property rights- about knowledge  relations of production: social relationships; who owns or does not own the forces/means of production? o Humans connected to each other in certain kinds of relations o i.e. slave’s mode of production- slave vs. slave master o who owns and does not own the forces of production  Class: relationship to the “forces/means of production” o Refers to relationships of groups of people to means of production o Things without which you cannot engage in any production activity at all  Slaves vs. slave-owners; lords vs. serfs; capitalist class vs. working class etc. Structure  Agency Dialectic  Why are these concepts important? The heart of sociology  Marx: “ men make history, but they do not make it just as they please; they do not make it under circumstances chosen by themselves, but under circumstances directly encountered, given and transmitted from the past…circumstances make men as much as men make circumstances”  “society does not consist of individuals, but expresses the sum of the relationships and conditions in which these individuals stand to one another”  “above all we must avoid postulating “society” again as an abstraction vis-à-vis the individual. T
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