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SOCY 122 (65)
Chapter

Marxism and the Dialectic of Dynamic Unstable Social Formations

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Department
Sociology
Course
SOCY 122
Professor
Rob Beamish
Semester
Fall

Description
Marxism and the Dialectic of Dynamic Unstable Social Formations Enlightenment-freedom, mastery, and progress -knowledge gained through human reason would allow humans to be free -David Hume-empiricism -Charles-Louis de Secondat (Montesquieu) -focused on the nature of things themselves -Jean Jacques Rousseau-questioned freedom, order, and government -challenged Hobbes -Adam Ferguson and Adam Smith- questioned freedom, social oppression, and social progress -Three different intellectual traditions emerged: -largely Gallic tradition-opposed by interpretive meaning in understanding social life -more quantitative and somewhat ahistorical -Rene Descartes, Rousseau, Emile Durkheim, Montesquieu -Interpretive tradition-more historical than science -Max Weber, Georg Simmel, Wilhelm Dilthey -Marxism -David Hume, Adam Ferguson, Adam Smith, and Dugald Stewart were the roots of political economy and emphasized the social context within which people live to explain behavior -David Hume believed that there is a common and consistent ‘nature’ to humanity, learn through the senses -> against Descartes and Plato -Rousseau agreed with Hume that there is a preceded ‘state of nature’ to society Ferguson-believes civil society is a ‘historical-natural constant’ and nothing else and that man is the perfection of his natural faculties -feared that the increase division of labour would negatively impact the people in capitalist societies -argued that modern industry will negatively affect worker’s ‘natural faculties’ (intellectual capacities) -Smith and Stewart examined the impact of the economy and its political consequences on the social whole Smith-three particular points related to human nature, the economy, and society: -trading is part of human nature -everyone is egotistic but it does not lead to war, but it integrates people -Key to wealth is the division of labour- assembly line (specialization) -free and open markets is the best social arrangement to meet people’s need -division of labour in market-based societies has limitations that people can’t ignore -recognizes that market forces won’t support the appropriate development of educational institutions for everyone in the free-market -agrees with Ferguson, that a completely unrestricted division of labour will diminish the intellectual capacity of workers -Two choices: -restrict the extent to which industries refine the division of labour and simplify work-> Smith disagrees -ensure that workers are able to develop outside of work-> Smith agrees -prove the need for some state involvement in society through tax revenue, which will provide better education -Ferguson, Smith, and Stewart-> Thomas Malthus, David Ricardo, James Mill, Robert Own, and John Stuart Mill Immanuel Kant-explored human reason and its limits -relationship between the internal and external world -external world-> absolute certain knowledge-> will never be reached -use full potential of the objective world to make social and political decisions -Johann Gottlieb Fichte, Friedrich Wilhelm, Joseph von Schelling, Georg Wilhelm, and Friedrich Hegel -opposed David Hume -idealist -German Idealism-limits to our knowledge and reason -reason can liberate -Hegel-reason does develop continually and develops through critiquing, this will lead to the ability to understand the perfect knowledge (but may not reach it) British Political Economy-Adam Ferguson and Adam Smith-industrialization is positive and negative to society -believed in the freedom of education -division of labour betters society -John Locke and John Stuart Mill -helped inspire Karl Marx’s theory Technological Determinism- technology will cause change Economic Determinism- economy will cause change -sometimes referred as economic reductionism -theory of overproduction- Marx argued that the drive for profit puts pressure on capitalism it continually increase their productive advantage over others, which leads to technological innovation and more efficient production, which leads to unemployed workers (the reserve army of the unemployed), which leads to less income for individuals, which leads to less consumer demand, and falling sales, and a crisis Karl Marx -materialist-> physical world -created the conflict theory or critical sociology-> ruling class (capitalists) vs. producers (wage workers) -worked with Friedrich Engels -capitalists hold labour power -labour theory of value- a commodity’s value manifests from the ‘socially-necessary labor time’ that it takes to find, mine, refine, fashion, assemble, or make it -believed workers are only paid a fraction of their labour time, and capitalists keep the unpaid portion and realize the surplus value when they sell it -living labour will decrease because of machines -Class-people sharing location in capitalism and similar material conditions -reproduces generation after generation -base or mode of production-society’s primary structuring factor, includes productive forces (natural resources, tools, science, labour power modes of cooperation) or factors contributing directly to creation of necessary and surplus product, and property relations/social relations, or class- based relationships that determine who has effective control over productions forces and distribution of product and who must do productive labor -economic structure of society and mode of production -micro -Superstructure-reproduces the mode of production -macro -Determinate forms of consciousness -correspondence reproducing the mode of production and relations of contradiction undermining it -Production is the ontological condition of humankind- most essential feature in society -history and change are fundamental to human condition Friedrich Engels -supported Karl Marx and Marxism -lead the international socialist movement Dialectic -original definition: change generated by an internal dynamic of contradiction, negation, and transcendence -interpretation of change emphasizing the clash of opposing interests and the resulting struggle as the engine of social transformation -found contradictions in arguments -used by Aristotle, Plato, Hegel, and especially Marx G.W.F Hegel -went against the Absolute Knowledge declared by Immanuel Kant and Rene Descartes -Karl Marx disagreed with Hegel -argued that a constitutional state, with an impartial civil servi
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