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Marx and Engels -1

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University of Toronto St. George
Irving Zeitlin

SOC203YHistory of Social Theory17Jan2011Ideologythe Development of Sociological TheoryMarx and EngelsIMarxWhy do we study MarxOne answer would be that he was one of the severest and original critics of the capitalist systemHe was also a critic of class structure in societiesBut because this course is really devoted to what we call classical social theory we study him because we regard him thas a very important outstanding thinker of the 19 centuryWhen we get to Max Weber well see that Weber calls Marx a great thinkerAs we can see from the chapters one of the most important contributions that Marx makes was in the area of historical sociologyHow does historical sociology differ from historiansAs discussed in the Tocqueville lecture the historian studies the unique and unrepeatable processes of history ie there was only one Julius Caesar one Napoleon etcA good historian is also a good sociologist But the historical sociologist really focuses attention on what we would call causes and consequencesThey really want to explain things theyre not just telling a storyWe are justified in using Tocqueville as an example because he captured the main character of American society and he also gave one of the explanations of the French Revolution which is unsurpassednobody has contradicted Tocquevilles analysisIn order to understand Marx we will begin with saying that there are three component elements of Marxs theory1The first of course is HegeleMarx was a student of HegelesAs a matter of fact when he was a young university student there was even a group that was called the Left or the Young HegeleansHe was a member of that groupWe may know something about Hegele but Zeitlin will review some of the main ideas because many would agree that Marx was Hegeles best and most distinguished student because he had internalized the dialectic way of thinkingOne of the major elements of Marxs intellectual consciousness is Hegele and the whole Hegelean tradition2The second component or element is French SocialismWeve already studied one of the major thinkers and one of the first French socialists namely SaintSimon there were othersEventually Frederick Engels who was a coauthor of Marxs called them Utopian Socialists and suggested that Marx had a much more rigorous and scientific approach to things3The third component is also extremely important because Marx spent most of his life on thisthat is English classical economics or English political economy which is what they called it in those daysWhom are we referring to hereAdam Smith David Ricardo James Mill and John Stuart Mill Thomas Robert Malthus and his theory of population and commentators on Marxs capital three volumesPeople like Joseph Schumpeter who was sort of a disciple of Weber said Marx didnt miss a single sourceMarx was so aridite that he covered every single possible source in those three volumes of CapitalThe most important element is that perhaps that is what capital is all about ie trying to explain how the system emerged and how it worksIt works in such a manner as to create a huge proletariat and alienation and dehumanizingPeople like Tocqueville and Marx and others who observed the consequences of the industrial revolution couldnt believe how dehumanizing and degrading the whole system was69 hours per week when he visited Manchester and they were living in cellar apartments etcIt was really a dehumanizing experience Marx was a political refugee and the only place that he could acquire refuge was in SOC203YHistory of Social Theory17Jan2011Library of the British Museum EnglandHe was in England for 30 years at the and that is where he wrote CapitalHence those are the three componentsHegele French Socialism and English Classical EconomyMarx and HegeleHegele was a philosophical idealistWhen we read Rulers and Ruled we explained the difference between philosophical idealism and philosophical materialismPlato was a philosophical idealist with his theory of the formsThe idealists believed that Reason Spirit are immanent ie some kind of governing principle in historyHistory doesnt just develop on its own it just doesnt happen its not a chaotic jumbleFrom Hegeles point of view when he uses the word development he means that there are certain stages in it and that its sort of governed by some kind of principle ie some internal principle and thththat being a 19 century thinker like many other 19 century thinkers he was partly influenced by the enlightenment and partly influenced by the romantic conservative reactionBut the part where we talk about the dialectic and developmental etc that part comes from the romantic conservative reactionIn order to understand Hegele we might even go back to HeraclitusHeraclitus was a preSocratic philosopher and he said that you cannot step into the same river twiceOne of his disciples Cratilus said you cant even step into the same river onceWhy not Because its in a constant state of flux and he used that as a metaphor for the entire universeHence in the first place in order to understand Hegele we have to understand that he realized that nothing is static that everything is in a state of flux this is so fundamental that its undeniableBut he said one more thing which was war is the father of all thingsWar in the generic sense includes conflict especially as applied to the human conditionZeitlins wife thinks the human species is a flawed species because we are divided against ourselves in so many ways and indeed in so many murderous waysAll we have to do is read the newspaperAs a matter of fact Hegele said history is a slaughter benchWe dont know how lucky we are to be living in a civilized society like CanadaBecause even to the south they dont even have a national health plan they dont have a safety net to speak ofOn top of that you have some of the most disadvantaged people in the society who volunteer for the armed forces hoping that they are going to get an education and some kind of way of making a living when there is 25 million unemployed people in the United StatesThe statistics for the Iraqi warthis is not a political statement its just a factover 4000 young Americans were killed 20000 were mutilatedmedical science now has ways of saving their lives but unfortunatelytheyve been mutilated and millions of refugeesThen of course we have a war going onin Afghanistan for almost ten yearsOne of the things that Marx would say is that its outrageous that the Prince or the Rulers or the Government would send people into an unnecessary warHence war is the father of all things because not only are we divided against ourselves in the way Zeitlin suggested but also even within societiesWhen Marx says the opening line of the Communist Manifesto the history of all hitherto existing societies is the history of class struggle class conflict class warfare etcWhen we get to his historical sociology we will go through the various modes of production or epochs that Marx discusses which were class structured and in which there was in fact class conflictWe may recall that he says patricians and plebeians lords and serfs and peasantsright up until the bourgeois epic where you have capitalists and workersThinking dialectically means for Hegele among other things not only process but internal contradictionsWhen we say that something develops development means that youre
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