Marxism (Sociology)

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AQA AS/A SOCIOLOGY ESSAY: CRITICALLY EXAMINE MARXIST PERSPECTIVES ON TODAY’S SOCIETY Classical Marxism is a conflict structural theory which argues that, rather than society being based on value consensus as functionalists would contend, there is a conflict of interest between different groups (social classes) because of the unequal distribution of power and wealth. Marxists are also interested in the way in which social change can occur, particularly in sudden and revolutionary ways. However, there are differences between Marxists especially over the way which social change can come about. For example, humanistic Marxists like Gramsci give a greater role to the conscious decisions and actions of human beings than do structural Marxists…show more content…
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
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