• Join over 1.2 million students every month
  • Accelerate your learning by 29%
  • Unlimited access from just £6.99 per month

Assess the contribution of the Marxist perspective to sociology

Extracts from this document...


Assess the contribution of the Marxist perspective to sociology The Marxist perspective is associated with Karl Marx, who saw history in terms of there being an over all conflict between different social classes known as the ruling class and the working class. All the power of society was monopolized by the ruling class (individuals who owned the means of production) and provided the tension for conflict. Marx believed that a revolution would occur with the ruling class being over thrown by the working class, and it was only a matter of time before it would happen. He also saw human society as being based on the production of good, arguing that society had a material base. Marx thought the only way that this revolution could be avoided was if society became communist, as there was no economic surplus and no private wealth, so classes couldn't exist within society. ...read more.


Marx put forward the claim that religion existed to give the working class promises of better things in the afterlife waiting for them, (e.g. some religions make it a good thing that suffering occurs in life, as it gets rewarded in heaven). Also in the case of Marxist perspective on religion there is a large amount of evidence to support what the Marxist view of the role of religion in society. Another piece of Marxist research that was quite influential was Bowles and Gintis. They believed that the major role of education in capitalist society was is to reproduce labour power. Bowles and Gintis regard work as being exploitive and alienating, which is a positive thing for capitalist society as capitalism requires a hard working, obedient, highly motivated work force. The education system hopes to achieve these objectives through the use of a hidden curriculum, which consists of the things pupils learn through the experience of attending at school rather than the stated educational objectives. ...read more.


Marxism is also criticised for economic determinism, which is seeing individual's behaviour as determined by the economic system around them. This view neglects to show the existence for individuals having free choice. In defence of this, Marxists state that the theory isn't economically deterministic, but just raises the point that individuals and groups in cultures have to make their own history, but the economic structure that surrounds them is a main factor in determining which context the process takes place. Marx wanted to prove that the revolution would happen, as he wanted society as a whole to become communist. Also if the revolution did happen it would support his perspective and prove that he was right in his research in to the ruling class and the working class. The revolution would prove Popper wrong in that he had stated he thought this part of Marx's theory was the only unfalsifiable part of it, as it could happen at anytime and hadn't been precisely laid out. If the revolution were to happen Marx would be seen as scientific. ...read more.

The above preview is unformatted text

This student written piece of work is one of many that can be found in our AS and A Level Political Philosophy section.

Found what you're looking for?

  • Start learning 29% faster today
  • 150,000+ documents available
  • Just £6.99 a month

Not the one? Search for your essay title...
  • Join over 1.2 million students every month
  • Accelerate your learning by 29%
  • Unlimited access from just £6.99 per month

See related essaysSee related essays

Related AS and A Level Political Philosophy essays

  1. Discuss the conflicts between Employee and Employer by Marxist

    "large scale or complex machine or associated technique is widely applied to the pursuit of economic efficiency on the basis whereby the capacity of work of the members is sold to others who control and organise it in such a way that the latter groups maintain relative advantage with the regard to those resources which are scarce and generally viewed.

  2. How does Habermas connect sociology with human emancipation? Do you find his arguments convincing?

    Habermas rejects this position and according to Pusey instead argues that "the validity of scientific knowledge, of hermeneutic understanding, and of mundane knowledge always depends as much on its 'subjective', and inter-subjective, constituents as it does on any methodologically verifiable observation and experience of the object-world" (1987, pg. 22).

  1. From a Marxist perspective, assess the claim that work in Capitalist society is both ...

    The way in which a Marxist would approach this takes us back to the idea of labour as a commodity and the central distinction between use value and exchange value. Use value is the value of a commodity to the person who uses it, i.e.

  2. "What are the main strengths and weaknesses of Marxist histories"?

    The fact was that under a capitalist system, production was meant to make a profit, not to satisfy the needs of the society. Marx stated that as long as those products being produced, were making a profit, they will remain being produced, no matter whether the public demanded that product, or not.

  1. Compare and contrast the pluralist, elitist and Marxist theories of the state.

    What the Government neglected to mention was that when they had joined the EEC some few years earlier the signed deal was "perpetual". Even if Britain had voted against the EEC in the referendum there was still nothing that the Government could have done, (if they would choose to do something at all...).

  2. An analysis of the Marxist perspective on religion

    that you are in pain and need to do something to make you feel better. You want relief from an intolerable situation. To get this relief you take a pain-killer. After a while, the pain goes away and you feel much better.

  1. An analysis of the Marxist perspective on religion

    But also that religion is superficial and on the surface only. In 1844, when Friedrich Engel's visited him in Paris, the two men found that they had independently arrived at identical views on the nature of revolutionary problems. They began to collaborate to disclose systematically the theoretical principles of communism

  2. Is the Liberal perspective on world politics too idealistic?

    Liberals believe that human nature is not the cause of war but rather the unorganized international system and the absence of effective IGO's. They argue that international political problems can be dealt by the international community and the sovereignty of a nation does not have to be compromised.

  • Over 160,000 pieces
    of student written work
  • Annotated by
    experienced teachers
  • Ideas and feedback to
    improve your own work