Present New Information Task: Pass round the sheet when the music stops, while the music is playing jot down as much as you can remember about Functionalism which hasn’t already been put down by someone else. When the music stops, pass your sheet left!
Lesson Objective • To know and understand Marx's main ideas and concepts.
Present New Information • Create your idea of Marxism out of play doh! Be prepared to explain it to the group.
Marxism Bourgeoisie Ideology Proletariat Capitalism These are some key words which relate to Marxism - what do these words mean? Provide definitions on your whiteboard What are the key elements to Marxism?
Marxism Bourgeoisie Capitalist class, owners of the means of production. Marx argues that the ownership of production gives the capitalist class power. Ideology Marxist idea meaning a set of beliefs that serve the interests of a dominant social group by justifying their privileged position. Proletariat Working class in a capitalist society. “wage slaves” forced to sell their labour power to the bourgeoisie. Capitalism an economic and political system in which a country's trade and industry are controlled by private owners for profit, rather than by the state. These are some key words which relate to Marxism - what do these words mean? Provide definitions on your whiteboard What are the key elements to Marxism?
Marxism • Historical materialism • Class society and exploitation • Capitalism • Class consciousness • Ideology • Alienation • The state, revolution and communism
Marxism: Historical materialism • Classical Marxism was founded by Karl Marx • Like Functionalism, Marxism is also a structural theory – society is a structure or system that shapes individuals’ behaviour and ideas. • It is also a macro theory • Like Durkheim, Marx believed we could study society scientifically • However, Marxism differs in two ways: Instability and change: Marx did not see progress as a smooth and gradual evolution. He saw historical change as a contradictory process in which capitalism would increase human misery before giving way to a classless communist society in which people would be free to fulfil their potential Conflict of Interests: Marxism is a conflict theory and suggests that within society there is a conflict between the bourgeoisie and the proletariats – the proletariats are exploited to benefit the ruling class Can you think of an example of this?
Marxism: Historical materialism • Materialism – we have material needs e.g. Food, shelter etc. • Therefore we work to meet these needs – using a means of production (e.g. Machines, factories, land etc.) • People work together in order to assist in production to help meet our needs – they enter a social relations of production • Social relations of production: The social relations of production refers to the social relationships that people enter into in the production or delivery of goods and services. • Over time as the forces of production grow – so does the social relations of production • As division of labour develops this leads to a division between social classes: • A class that owns the means of production • A class of labourers
Marx believed that the economy was the driving force in society, this determined social institutions, and peoples values and beliefs. Divided into two parts: 1) Infrastructure – economic base which underpins and determines everything else in society. This includes: - Means of production – all the things you need to produce; land, factories, technology, labour - Relations of production (Bourgeoisie and proletariat) who controls production, the relationship between the owner and non owners. 2) Superstructure – Social institutions such as the family, education, law religion, mass media. Beliefs and values are all determined/influenced by the economic system.
Marxism: Class society and exploitation • In early history – there was no classes, no private ownership or exploitation (‘primitive communism’) • In class societies, one class owns the means of production which exploits the labourers. • Marx identifies three successive class societies, each with its own form of exploitation: • Ancient society • Feudal society • Capitalist society TASK: Summarise what these class societies are (pg. 227)
Marxism: Capitalism Read paragraphs on ‘Capitalism’ from your text book (pg. 227-8) and work out a flow chart that demonstrates this situation to others in the class – provide an example to help. Value of labour when sold by capitalists (It is sold for far more than the wage paid) Proletariat Labour (not paid much) Surplus value (pocketed by the capitalist/bourgeoisie) These profits lead to inequalities in wealth and income between the working class and the ruling class. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9a_D-azUogg
Ancient society Exploitation of slaves legally tied to their owners Agricultural labourer tied to working on his Lord’s estate Feudal society Exploitation of serfs legally tied to the land Capitalist society Exploitation of free wage labourers
What would society look like if it became communist? • According to Marxists a communist society emerges from technological advances in productive forces. • Communist society would have common ownership of the means of production with free access to consumption • Classless and stateless society • End of exploitation and labour.
Marxism Capitalist societies are unstable because of the potential conflict between the social classes. The idea of superstructure is to reproduce the values and ideas of the ruling class so the working class are unaware of the conflicts of interest that divide them from the capitalist class. WC accept their position in society which creates a false class consciousness(lack of awareness of exploitation) this then ensures conformity and class inequalities in education, income and health are produced generation after generation. Working class behaviour is therefore shaped by class inequality that makes up the infrastructure. However Marx believes they would eventually become politically conscious of inequality and collectively take revolutionary action against capitalist classes.
Construct Complete the sections in your booklet using page 228-9
Marxism: Capitalism Capitalism is based on a division between a class of owners (bourgeoisie) and a class of labourers (proletariat). Capitalism has three distinct features: 1. Proletariat labour • The proletariat are legally free and separated from the means of production – they have to sell their labour to the bourgeoisie in return for wages in order to survive. The proletariat do not receive the value of their goods that their labour produces, but only the cost of subsistence – keeping them alive.
Marxism: Capitalism • 2. Value of Labour • As competition between capitalists increases, ownership of the means of production becomes concentrated into fewer and fewer hands. Small independent produces therefore fall into the ranks of the proletariat, until the vast majority are proletarianised. • Proletariats are paid lowest wages possible due to competition Transnational cooperations controlling the means of production
Marxism: Capitalism 3. Expanding forces of production • Capitalism expands the forces of production in its pursuit of profit. This will push production into even-larger units; technological advances will de-skill the workforce and will result in class polarisation – society divides into a minority capitalist class and a majority working class.
Marxism: Class consciousness • Marx believes that polarising the classes, bringing the proletariat together in ever-larger numbers, and driving down their wages, capitalism creates the conditions under which the working class can develop a consciousness of its own economic and political interest in opposition to those of its exploiters. • The proletariat move from being a class in itself to becoming a class for itself – members are now class conscious and aware they need to overthrow capitalism. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qzwATFfA1Lo
Marxism: Ideology • The bourgeoisie not only control the means of production, but also the mental production – the production of ideas • The dominant ideas in society are therefore the ideas of the economically dominant class. • Social institutions (e.g. Religion, education, media) spread ideas which reflect the bourgeoisie – they produce ideologies • These ideologies legitimise (justify) the existing social order as desirable and inevitable e.g. you do not have a good job because you didn’t work hard at school. • Ideology creates a false class consciousness – unaware of their true exploitation and this helps sustain class inequality.
Marxism: Alienation • Alienation is where individuals feel isolated because of their lack of power to control their lives – the working class lack control over the production process. • Under capitalism, alienation reaches its peak for 2 reasons: Workers are completely separated from and have no control over the forces of production A worker is reduced to an unskilled labourer mindlessly repeating a meaningless task
Marxism: The state, revolution and communism • The state (repressive state apparatus) – e.g. Police, prisons, courts; protect the interests of the class of owners – they form a ruling class • They use the state as a weapon to protect their property, wealth, suppress opposition and prevent revolution. • A revolution can occur and they can overthrow the existing ruling class. • Marx says a proletarian revolution will be the first revolution by a majority against a minority. It will: • Abolish the state and create a classless society • Abolish exploitation, replace private ownership with social ownership, and replace production for profit with production to satisfy human needs. • End alienation as humans regain control of their labour. • An end of capitalism will bring about communism on a world scale.
Elaborate You now need to turn this into a cartoon strip demonstrating the Marxists ideas of conflict.
Present new Information • Watching the following clip how could Marxists explain what happened? Is this theory useful within society or not? • Can you identify any strengths and weakness or Marxism? http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-14458424
Lesson Objective • To be able to fully evaluate Marxism and compare it to other theories.
Construct Read the following evaluation points and in pairs decide which ones are supporting or criticising Marxist’s understanding of society. Why does it support/challenge their contributions to understand society?
Evaluation… There are several ways we can evaluate Marxism… • Class • Economic determinism
Construct - Too much emphasis on capitalism - Economic reductionism / determinism (making things solely about class): Marxists neglect that social behaviour can also be influenced by religious, patriarchal and ethnic structures + Importance of economy + Could explain inequalities within society - No revolution: in actual fact capitalism has grown stronger and, through globalization, has spread across the world + Influential - Polarisation (rich get richer) Is this the case?: we have a great middle-class growth which Marx did not predict + Importance of social structure - Functionalism
Evaluation Strengths + Recognises that the economy can have an influence on a wide range of social institutions. + The focus upon private ownership provides an explanation for social inequalities in wealth, income and power that exist in contemporary societies – it also explains many of the conflicts that take place due to class in equalities. + Influential theory + recognises the importance of society’s social structure and links this to the ideas, consciousness and behaviour of individuals and groups + Remains a highly influential theory, which has had a significant influence on a range of other sociological theories, such as those of Weber and Marxist feminists.
Evaluation Weaknesses • Marx’s predictions haven’t come true. Marx emphasises that the working class are becoming poorer. People in society now have better living standards than ever before. Due to Globalisation, national governments have less power. The fact that the revolution that Marx predicted still hasn’t happened, emphasises flaws in the theory. • Classical Marxism over-emphasises the extent of conflict in society. Functionalists would argue that society is primarily stable, and there must be some shared values for social life to be possible. The fact that a resolution hasn’t happened yet reflects this. • Over emphasises social class as a source of inequality and conflict, and pays little attention to other sources such as ethnicity, age and gender. • Postmodernists suggest the economy is not a key factor influencing people’s ideas; instead in what they regard as media-saturated society, it is the media that form and dominate people’s consciousness and view of the world.
Evaluation Weaknesses • Postmodernists suggest the economy is not a key factor influencing people’s ideas; instead in what they regard as media-saturated society, it is the media that form and dominate people’s consciousness and view of the world.
Neo-Marxism • Since Marx’s death, and no sign of a revolution, many Marxists reject the economic determination of the base-superstructure to explain society. • Instead they have tried to explain why capitalism has persisted and how it may be overthrown. • Neo-Marxism is a new type of thinking. It is influenced by traditional Marxism but is a more contemporary view of society. • There are two types of Marxism: • Humanistic Marxism - more about free will / interpretivism. • Structural Marxism - i.e. More about science /objectivity/falsification/positivism
Neo-Marxism • New Marxist ideas that use some of Marx’s ideas but also incorporate other theorists ideas too. Two Neo-Marxists you need to know about: • Gramsci humanistic Marxism (more interpetivist, again focusing on the individual) • Althusser structuralist Marxism (more to do with the individual, rather than a macro approach)
Grasmci • Not macro • More individual view • Concept of hegemony – this is the idea that the ruling class have these ideologies using ideas and values to prevent revolution. • Hegemony is stopping the revolution from happening due to the hegemony (ideology)
Grasmci - Revolution • Gramsci believes a revolution will only occur if the proletariat are able to construct a counter-hegemonic bloc • The proletariats must come up with their own values, rules or norms to go against the bourgeoisie • It is not enough to simply accept their subordinate position, they need to actively take action to overcome this.
Althusser – Structuralist Marxism • Criticises Marx’s superstructure model • Can you remember what the super structure model is?
Althusser – Structuralist Marxism • Criticises Marx’s superstructure model • Althusser added a third level – the political level • Althusser contrasts Marx’s original ideas and said there is relative autonomy or partial independence from the economic level. • The political and ideological level are not only affected by the economy but can also affect the economy • We have a two-way causality
Craib (1992) – three story building housing a family business. Top floor = family’s living quarters Middle floor Office Ground floor = a shop What goes in on the office is affected by the nature of the activity in the shop. The office work might be organised differently but might be the same whatever the kind of business. Similarly the standard of living and lifestyle enjoyed by the owners on the top floor is affected by the business they run (e.g they may be well off but can’t take long holidays away from it). What happens upstairs affects what happens in the shop and office, if the family divorce, this will affect the business.
Animazing storyboard In pairs using your information sheet - you are going to make a series of pictures that sum up either Gramsci or Althusser. You can use it anyway you like but it must be creative so that another pair can understand the neo-Marxist ideas. You will then TEACH another pair your theorist. You will also prepare 4 questions which will then test your group to make sure each group was listening!
Apply Question: How would you explain the contribution of Marxism to our understanding of the way society is organised. What info would you select to go into this question so far?
Extension questions: • Do you think an analysis of Britain today fits more closely with functionalism (consensus) of Marxism (conflict)? Explain your views with examples. Think about the information you would use to answer the following question: • ‘Marxism and other conflict theories have little to contribute to an understanding of contemporary society’ Examine the extent to which sociological arguments and evidence support this view.
Review Do you see yourself as more in agreement with Marxists or Functionalists? Explain why.
Evaluation In your groups try and create a full evaluation of Marxism into a spider diagram
Questions • Do you think an analysis of Britain today fits more closely with functionalism (consensus) of Marxism (conflict)? Explain your views with examples. • Think about the information you would use to answer the following question: • ‘Marxism and other conflict theories have little to contribute to an understanding of contemporary society’ • Examine the extent to which sociological arguments and evidence support this view.