Law and Society
Week 9 Lecture 10
Marx, Marxism and The Law
Intro to Marx:
• One th the most highly influenced thinkers of the modern period
▯19 Century: a time of industrialization, political and social upheaval and revolt, and colonialism).
• His work combined economics, philosophy, sociology, history
• Developed a powerful critique of capitalism.
• Lived from 18181883
• Contemporaneous with the 2 Industrial Revolution
• Philosopher, political economist, socialist and labour activist
• Major works include:
▯Communist Manifesto (w/Engels) 1847
Marx as a conflict theorist:
• Law is not the expression of society’s common values
▯(i.e: Society not formed or structured upon consensus)
• Instead societies are divided by class conflicts:
▯“The History of all hitherto existing society is the history of class struggles”
• Modern bourgeoisie is the product of a long course of development – a series of revolutions
▯But it has not done away with class antagonisms
▯Established new classes, new conditions of oppression, new forms of struggle in place of old ones.
“The bourgeoisie, wherever it has got the upperhand, has put an end to all feudal, patriarchal, idyllic relations. It
has pitilessly torn asunder the motley feudal ties that bound man to his ‘natural superiors’, and has left
remaining no other nexus between man and man than naked selfinterest, than callous ‘cash payment’
Sociological and Political:
• Unlike Durkheim and Weber, Marx did not see his sociology isolated from political action
• But they were all “evolutionary social theorists”, legal systems evolved with socioeco system (Calavita
the law itself is looking forward and is making judgments today and try to control on how things will
unfold in the future.
• Thus, Marxism is both a sociologic