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SOC231H5 Lecture Notes - Complex Number, Bourgeoisie, Alexis De Tocqueville

Course Code
Jack Veugelers

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Classical Sociological Theory
September 24, 2012
6:00 – 8:00
MB 128
Karl Marx
The Germany Ideology (1845-46)
Historical Materialism
Premise: There is a pattern to human history, pay attention to how society is organized to meet
fundamental needs.
Marx critiquing peers who believe ideas shape how society works. No; how we meet fundamental needs
shapes society.
In order to survive, we have to have food, shelter etc
Meeting these needs is essential to human life. To understand history, one needs to look at how society is
organized to meet these fundamental needs.
In a capitalist society, you have no choice but to sell your labour to meet your fundamental needs; forced
to be a proletarian. As a proletarian you will; feel separated from work, the product of work, and from
other people.
The fundamental social category is class.
The implication for studying society: how society produces is fundamental
If I want to eat, I need to sell my labour for a lack of options
The bourgeoisie has created immense material wealth which should give more time for humans to reach
potential, but it has not.
The mode of production of material life determines the general character of the social, political and
spiritual processes of life...”
> Karl Marx. A Contribution to the Critique of Political Economy (1854)
Division of labour, example from Adam Smith, The Wealth of Nations (1776)
Advanced division of labour > split up complicated process into many simple tasks. Rather than one
highly-trained specialist, many unskilled workers make the object. This process leads to a large increase
in production.
Division of labour, consequences according to Marx.
Marx agrees advanced division of labour increased production power.
Consequences: work becomes alienating, cannot see oneself in the end product of work, alienated from
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