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University of Toronto St. George
Irving Zeitlin

SOC203Y-History of Social Theory 17-Jan-2011 Ideology & the Development of Sociological Theory: Marx and Engels I Marx Why do we study Marx? One answer would be that he was one of the severest and original critics of the capitalist system. He was also a critic of class structure in societies. But, because this course is really devoted to what th call classical social theory, we study him because we regard him as a very important, outstanding thinker of the 19 century. When we get to Max Weber, well see that Weber calls Marx a great thinker. As we can see from the chapters, one of the most important contributions that Marx makes was in the area of historical sociology. How does historical sociology differ from historians? As discussed in the Tocqueville lecture, the historian studies the unique and unrepeatable processes of history, i.e. there was only one Julius Caesar, one Napoleon, etc. A good historian is also a good sociologist. But, the historical sociologist really focuses attention on what we would call causes and consequences. They really want to explain things; theyre not just telling a story. We 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 unsurpassed nobody has contradicted Tocquevilles analysis. In order to understand Marx, we will begin with saying that there are three component, elements of Marxs theory: 1) The first, of course, is Hegele. Marx was a student of Hegeles. As a matter of fact, when he was a young university student, there was even a group that was called the Left or the Young Hegeleans. He was a member of that group. We 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 thinking. One of the major elements of Marxs intellectual consciousness is Hegele and the whole Hegelean tradition. 2) The second component or element is French Socialism. Weve already studied one of the major thinkers and one of the first French socialists; namely, Saint-Simon; there were others. Eventually, Frederick Engels, who was a co-author of Marxs, called them Utopian Socialists and suggested that Marx had a much more rigorous and scientific approach to things. 3) The third component is also extremely important because Marx spent most of his life on this that is English classical economics or English political economy, which is what they called it in those days. Whom are we referring to here: Adam Smith; David Ricardo; James Mill and John Stuart Mill; Thomas Robert Malthus and his theory of population; and commentators on Marxs capital three volumes. People like Joseph Schumpeter, who was sort of a disciple of Weber, said, Marx didnt miss a single source. Marx was so aridite that he covered every single possible source in those three volumes of Capital. The most important element is that perhaps that is what capital is all about, i.e. trying to explain how the system emerged and how it works. It works in such a manner as to create a huge proletariat and alienation and dehumanizing. People like Tocqueville and Marx and others who observed the consequences of the industrial revolution couldnt believe how de-humanizing and degrading the whole system was. 69 hours per week, when he visited Manchester and they were living in cellar apartments, etc. It was really a de-humanizing experience. Marx was a political refugee and the only place that he could acquire refuge was in England. He was in England for 30 years, at the Library of the British Museum and that is where he wrote Capital. Hence, those are the three components: Hegele, French Socialism, and English Classical Economy. Marx and Hegele
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