For example, it shapes the nature of religion, law, education, the state and so on. According to Marx, capitalism sows the seeds of its own destruction. For example, by polarising the classes, bringing the proletariat together in ever-increasing numbers, and driving down their wages, capitalism creates the conditions under which the working class can develop a consciousness (or awareness) of its own economic and political interests in opposition to those of its exploiters. As a result, the proletariat moves from merely being a class-in-itself (whose members share the same economic position) to becoming a class-foritself, whose members are class conscious – aware of the need to overthrow capitalism. The means of production would then be put in the hands of the state and run in the interests of everyone, not just of the bourgeoisie. A new type of society – socialism developing into communism – would be created, which would be without exploitation, without classes and without class conflict. Marx’s work has been subjected to a number of criticisms. First, Marx’s predictions have not come true. Far from society becoming polarised and the working class becoming poorer, almost everyone in western societies enjoys a far higher standard of living than ever before. The collapse of so-called ‘communist’ regimes like the former Soviet Union, and growing private ownership and capitalist growth in China, cast some doubt on the viability of the practical implementation
Thus dominated class of the dominant class most be inclined not to accept the social world as is and decide to rebel against it. Therefore Gramsci’s theory of the war of movement and War of Position can affect Social change in a Capitalist Society, while social change for Bourdieu, can be affected by civil society winning the class struggle over habitus vs. fields, equalizing categories of class and recognizing and fighting the symbolic violence of the dominant class.
Through Gramsci’s work, he has put forth the foundation of how dominance over people have developed and how power is continuously held. Education and religion are used to influence the culture of the masses. Setting the tone of the dominant class, it controls systems that are developed and deems what is right or wrong. From these concepts, dominant classes are able to develop their own education, economy, political and media systems. Now that the framework of Gramsci’s work has been laid out, it is important to see examples of how hegemony has been used within dominant structures.
According to Althusser, the two ways that the state helps to keep the bourgeoisie in power are through the repressive state apparatuses and the ideological state apparatuses. The repressive state apparatuses are a set of people who suppress the working class and when they do so, they support the bourgeoisie’s rules by using physical force. Examples of people who use this force are the police, courts, army and judiciary. The ideological state apparatuses are a set of people who control people’s ideas, values and beliefs in order to support the bourgeoisie’s rules. Examples of the ideological state apparatuses include the media, religion, family, the political system and the education system. Althusser views the education as an important ideological state apparatus. He argues that the education performs two functions. The first function is that the education reproduces class inequality by failing the successful generation of the working class students. The second function is that there are set ideas and beliefs that are produced as a result of class inequality which disguises its true cause. The function of ideology is to show the workers that they deserve their subordinate position in society and that they would be less likely to challenge capitalism if they accept that inequality is unequal. Other Marxists such as Samuel Bowles and Herbert Gintis argue that capitalism requires those employees to do the jobs who have the right
ABSTRACT: This paper is a clarification and partial justification of a novel approach to the interpretation of Gramsci. My approach aims to avoid reductionism, intellectualism, and one-sidedness, as well as the traditional practice of conflating his political thought with his active political life. I focus on the political theory of the Prison Notebooks and compare it with that of Gaetano Mosca. I regard Mosca as a classic exponent of democratic elitism, according to which elitism and democracy are not opposed to each other but are rather mutually interdependent. Placing Gramsci in the same tradition, my documentation involves four key points. First, the Notebooks contain an explicit
Antonio Gramsci was an Italian communist scholar, journalist, and activist who served as a deputy member of the Italian Parliament, representing the Italian Communist Party (PCI), which he helped to establish in 1923. In the wake of the triumph of Mussolini and the Italian fascists in 1926, Gramsci was sentenced to 20 years in prison in order to prevent his thought from spreading (Crehan 2003:17). From 1926 to 1937, when he was released from prison only to die one week later, Gramsci composed thirty-two notebooks (over 2,350 printed pages) which has come to be regarded as his greatest work and an unfinished classic of Marxist thought (Simon 1991; Crehan 2002). The fact that he composed these great works while he was in prison and during a time of political turmoil that provoked him has particularly confounding effects on the reader. First, these notebooks were hand written in prison and he frequently revisits or elaborates on earlier notes throughout the journals. They are therefore not organized under coherent headings to facilitate a systematic interpretation of his thoughts. Some editors organize the notes under their own themes, and Gramsci himself at times inserts instructions that one passage should be tied to another, but some imposed order is always inevitable. Second, Gramsci, though in prison, was very much informed, and
Conflict theory says religion can control and promote social inequality and conflict. People who are religious, he said, tend to view their poverty in religious terms. Meaning they think it is God’s will that they are poor, because God is testing their faith or because they are being punished . This is inspired by the work of Karl Marx, who said that religion was the “opiate of the masses” (Marx, 1964). By this he meant that religion, like a drug, makes people happy with their conditions of life. Marx felt poverty stemmed from their oppression by the bourgeoisie. Marx stressed that
During the 19th century, European workers would refer to themselves as an oppressed class. In a capitalist economy, the means of production are privately owned. As a result, a political economist will find himself divided into two classes: those who own the means of production and those that do not. For Marx, the political economy fails to explain the reason for the “division of labour and capital”. Marx poses a critical question when it comes to class oppression and the division of labour: who is the real producer of a commodity? Is it the capitalist or the labourer who produced it? For Marx, the idea of the means of production is an important economic category. Marx shows how capitalism’s complex process of exploitation creates not only a myriad of differences across the labour force, but also common relations that cut across the differences of income, occupation, and status. It is these common relations that create class based societies and further class oppression. In this paper, I will first analyze Marx’s theory of alienation as a cause of class oppression and explore his communist theories to determine the best answer to resist class oppression. I will argue that alienation still exists today, and in using Engles’ theory of class oppression, I will argue that and that a classless system is impossible to attain without political involvement.
In my view I feel Karl Marx is famous for writing this very statement, I’m sure people who don’t know him too well would still know his name by stating this statement. Even though Marx was very critical of religion I feel in a way he was also quite sympathetic of it. For Marx, ideology is a belief system that changes people’s perception of reality in ways that serve the interests of the ruling class. He argues
Karl Marx famously called religion the opiate of the masses (par. 4). There is no denying that many people derive comfort, purpose, and meaning from religion. However, it is equally true that throughout history, religion has been used frequently as a tool to oppress the poor and uneducated. In fourteenth-century England, where abuses of clerical power were rampant, members of the clergy preyed upon the fears of the masses in order to fill their own coffers. In The Friar’s Tale, Geoffrey Chaucer criticizes the clergy by revealing how they used the repressive ideology of religion to oppress and exploit the working class in a highly class-conscious society.
The Althusserian and Gramscian schools of thought offer contradistinctive views about the ideology that is at play in the society. Althusser staunchly advocates that ideology is the unconscious, ‘practico-social’ knowledge that reinforces the existing social order. While Athusser is more rigid in his approach about the working of ideology, by significantly downplaying the role of individualistic thinking, Gramsci stresses on the ability of individuals to change society by blurring the distinction between the individual and the political framework. This essay seeks to explore how Gramscian concepts of ‘hegemony,’ ‘national popular,’ and, ‘common sense,’ provide a more
Gramsci poses the question about whether intellectuals are an individual group or whether they exist in all social groups. He comes to the decision that all men are in fact intellectual, but that does not mean that they function as such in society. Since all men are intellectuals, but do not necessarily serve that role, he discusses the use of school to elaborate on different levels of intelligence. Intellectuals do not relate to the world of production directly, but they do, in a sense, reside over the dominant group as “deputies” (1007). This situation is consensual in
Althusser (1970) forwarded the idea of “Ideological State Apparatuses” that function through ideology. He identified these various ISAs as religious, educational, family, legal, political (includes political system and parties), trade unions, communications (media), and cultural (literature, sports etc). These ISAs represses working class mobilization not through violence but through ideology. Cleaver failed to see that working class “self-valorization” is hindered by equally powerful forces: the Ideological State Apparatuses (Althusser 1970). In different countries working class are repressed not only in the field of the traditional State apparatuses (repressive) like “the Government, the Administration, the Army, the Police, the Courts, the Prisons etc” that ‘functions by violence’ but also by Ideological State Apparatuses which ‘functions by ideology’ (Althusser 1970). This includes culture, religion (the Churches), educational system, trade unions, media, etc that provides significant diversion of working class political consciousness which stops them to wield political power to change the system where they are
Poverty is an inherent adjective that must be associated with socialism. There has always been a desire to extinguish poverty and craft an equal and fraternal society in the socialist agenda (Luxemburgo, 1976). Unfortunately, with the idea of nationalized equality and the eradication of the social evil that poverty represents, the proponents of this social system have sought to abolish consumerism and the flow of goods that citizens experience by extinguishing consumption and limiting resources (Miller, 2001). The overarching principle of this abrupt extinction is the corruption summoned by materialism. Since the bourgeoisie is inherently greedy and corrupt, and the proletariat is inherently defenseless against the unsolicited class distinction, the necessary solution is the elimination of the consumer culture and the establishment of an impoverished society that permits the liberation of the oppressed and the annulment of the oppressor. As R. Luxemburg stated in one of her writings, the emancipation of the populace must be aided by the clergy, for they hold the faith as the dearest thing and hope to see the citizens understand the fraternal and equal love found in socialism (Luxemburgo, 1976). Is in this exact location, where the laity meets the new social order, that the church comes in. However, the socialist aspiration for the religious institutions to be joint with the government never comes to fruition. The clerics exhort the proletariat to abstain from fighting,
Society abides by the social relations put in place between proletariats and the bourgeoisie due to the coercive nature of these relationships, autonomous of free choice. Though dominating the actions and choices of society, such coercive relationships with owners of capital are tolerated due to people’s need for survival. People’s need for survival results in the need to make money for their material existence, which includes food and shelter. Awareness of one’s current economic system also contributes to the understanding of the established social order. However, due to their subordinated status, low-income and low-skilled jobs may be their only opportunity for survival. For instance, undergraduate university students are only armed with high school diplomas and few skills, but require earning a living to complete school to try and succeed within a capitalist society. As a result of the few skills and little schooling students possess, taking low-skilled jobs