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Karl Marx's Social Theory

By:   •  July 28, 2018  •  Essay  •  747 Words (3 Pages)  •  952 Views

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Karl Marx’s Social Theory

Karl Marx believed that our suffering is so clear to us that we must act. Marx suggested that the social theory would show us how our situation has been clouded by belief and other forms of confusion, to show the circumstances of control that hold us back, and to show us the way to freedom. Marx social theory was designed to help us understand the restrictions of individual freedom in a complex bureaucratic society also stresses that we act to change our situation. He uses the term praxis. Through praxis, we engage in critical reflection on our own situation and that of our society to reveal the basis of social domination and the suffering it promotes; then, recognizing the reality of our situation (moving beyond our false consciousness), we are compelled to act to increase our sense of autonomy and responsibility, both for ourselves and four our society (Denhardt, 25).

In developing his social theories and interpretation of capitalism Marx put a strong emphasis on class divisions in a capitalist society. The main two classes in capitalism were the bourgeoisie and the proletariat. The bourgeoisie being the owners of capital have the power and the proletariats being laborers seeking employment from the bourgeoisie to obtain income. Marx social theory shows that although both capital and labor are needed they share an exploitative social relationship.

Other classes included the landlords, petty bourgeoisie, lumpenproletariat, and the peasantry and farmers. The landlords, also known as landowners, were marginal class families who no longer had a role in production and the organization of society, but converted their wealth into landed capital. The petty bourgeoisie were the lower middle class, who owned some property but not enough to have work done by workers. Successful petty bourgeoisie would move up to bourgeoisie class, while unsuccessful petty bourgeoisie would be forced into proletariat class. The lumpenproletariats were a group of violent, social deviants with nothing to contribute to socialism. The peasantry and farmers was a group that was unable to organize.

Understanding these social classes was very important to Marx. It helped him apprehend capitalism and other social systems more clearly. His understanding was that the bourgeoisie held power and control over the proletariats because they owned the resources for production, not money. Through his social theory Marx wanted to recognize our oppressions and take action to change our situation.

Today our classes include the lower class, working class, middle class, and upper class. The lower class include individual


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