marxism Essay

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How convincing was the Marxist critique of the capitalist state? This next unit of theory is entitled "Ideology and Discourse." The theorists we're examining--Althusser, Bakhtin, and Foucault--are discussing how ideology works, and how ideologies construct subjects. All of these theorists are coming from a Marxist perspective, using ideas and terms developed in Marxist theory, though only Althusser actually claims to be a Marxist. So to start off, I want to talk a bit about some basic ideas of Marxist theory. Marxism is a set of theories, or a system of thought and analysis, developed by Karl Marx in the nineteenth century in response to the Western industrial revolution and the rise of industrial capitalism as the predominant…show more content…
Marx's view of the idea of "dialectic" comes from Hegel, who thought that no ideas, social formations, or practices were ever eternal or fixed, but were always in motion or flux (something like Derrida's "play"). Hegel said that this motion or flux or change happens in a certain pattern, which he called a "dialectic." Hegel says, change occurs as the result of a struggle between two opposed forces, which then get resolved into a third entity. Hegel's model of change looks like this: you start with a proposition or a position, which he calls a "thesis;" the thesis then stands in opposition to another position, which he calls the "antithesis" (and thus far it does work like our old friend the binary opposition). But then the struggle between thesis and antithesis is resolved into a third position, or set of ideas or practices, which Hegel calls the "synthesis." Then, of course, the synthesis eventually becomes a thesis, with an antithesis, and the whole process starts over. But that, says Hegel, is how change happens--by the continual struggle between thesis, antithesis, and synthesis. In addition to being a kind of philosophy, Marxism is also a way to understand history. In this sense, Marxism belongs to a kind of historicism called HISTORICAL MATERIALISM, which shows that history, or social change, occurs

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