1.2E: Class Conflict and Marx
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- Relate Marx’s concept of class to his view of historical change
Means of Production, Relations of Production
Modes of Production
Instabilities in Capitalism
- Marx sees society evolving through stages. He focuses on dialectical class conflict to control the means of production as the driving force behind social evolution.
- According to Marx, society evolves through different modes of production in which the upper class controls the means of production and the lower class is forced to provide labor.
- In Marx’s dialectic, the class conflict in each stage necessarily leads to the development of the next stage (for example, feudalism leads to capitalism ).
- Marx was especially critical of capitalism and foresaw a communist revolution.
- Marx predicted that class conflict between the bourgeoisie and the proletariat would lead to capitalism’s downfall.
- According to Marx, under capitalism, workers (the proletariat) must alienate their labor.
- The bourgeoisie try to preserve capitalism by promoting ideologies and false consciousness that keep workers from revolting.
- Marx’s understanding of history is called historical materialism because it focuses on history and material (versus ideas).
- bourgeoisie: The capitalist class.
- proletariat: the working class or lower class
- false consciousness: A faulty understanding of the true character of social processes due to ideology.
- dialectical: Of, relating to, or of the nature of logical argumentation.