Relevance of Marxist Theory in Understanding Modern Societies

713 Words Jul 7th, 2013 3 Pages
Assess the clam that Marxist theory no longer has any relevance for understanding modern societies. [25]

Marxism was developed by the German philosopher Karl Marx and is a radical alternative to functionalism. Functionalism, developed by Emile Durkheim, was very influential in the 1940’s and 50’s but started to decline in the 1960’s. Marxism had the answers functionalism failed to give.

Marxism is based on the idea that we need food, shelter and products in order to survive. We enter in to social relationships (socialisation) because of the need for these things. Marxists believe that society is in conflict due to the different social classes. The labourers produce the materials and owners of means of production earn the wealth. This is
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doctors/lawyers, etc. A critique of Davis & Moore, Melvin M. Tumin says that doctors and lawyers being more important than farm labourers is a matter of opinion. This theory goes against the theory of Marxism, as in modern society, more people stand up against theories which say how we must think & behave – especially subcultures. Once they have a minority group which consistently disagrees with the majority, it will eventually have an effect.

Walby, Paterman & Wolf (1990) says that gender role socialisation is determined by society’s distinction between private & public place. Private place is where the mother brings up the family in the home and public place is where the father goes to work to bring in money for the family. Glendenning & Millar believe that society has experienced a feminisation during the past 20 years. Women have more opportunities and the gap has decreased from the 80% wages of men’s hourly wage for women.

In modern societies there have been changes. According to Peter Townsend this is due to the
Industrialisation. These changes go against the Marxist theory that people in higher classes have greater power to control people of lower classes. This is because social mobility has occurred. Social mobility is the movement from one class to another. Movement can be upwards or downwards.

Due
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