Sociology as an academic discipline has developed from sociological views and concepts proposed by scholars and thinkers form different social and professional backgrounds. Sociology is the study of social organisation structure, social institutions and human behaviours. Various scholars have made a tremendous contribution in enriching the discipline. Besides assisting in understanding the discipline, some scholars and theorists have made a significant impact in facilitating the understanding of modern society. The paper explores the work of Karl Marx, a prominent social theorist whose concepts have informed the field of sociology and the modern society accordingly (Avineri, 1988).
The first reason why I chose study about Karl Marx is the fact that Marx is identified among the major founding figures of sociology. Although Marx was relatively not popular during his lifetime, his idea of Marxism started to input a significance influence on social movements after his death. Sociologists have identified Marx as one of the most prominent and influential in human history. In this context, Marx’s popularity made me eager as I developed interest of knowing more about him. I needed to review Marx’s work to have knowledge of the ideas proposed by this prominent scholar.
The second reason for choosing Marx is the fact that his ideas that are collectively identified as “Marxism theory,” especially the theory of conflicts are highly relevant in the modern society. Understanding the sociology of the modern society is very challenging. In this consideration, I believed that reviewing Marx’s work that presents strategic theories that explain community’s social-political organization would offer me an upper edge in comprehending and explains various habit presented by the current generation.
The third reason why I selected Karl Marx is that he is my academic role model. With his great achievements and contributions to the field of Sociology, I am motivated to learn more about this great scholar, which I believe would develop me to be a strong sociologist. Learning about Karl Marx would be of great relevance in understanding the basics of Sociology and the socialization of the society. This is informed by the fact that understanding the platform or root of a discipline fosters its mastery.
The controversial social-political theorist Karl Marx (1818–1883) has made critical contributions in the sociology discipline. Marx proposed various ideas about society, politics and economics that collectively identify as Marxism Theory. Marx’s theory asserts that all progresses in the society happen following the dialectic of class struggle. The theorist explored capitalism, the modern day socio-economic state of the society that he described as a “dictatorship of the bourgeoisies” (Avineri, 1988). He felt that this system is entirely run by the rich upper and middle classes to sustain their own interests. In this respect, Marx was convinced that the idea of capitalism would eventually create internal tensions that would result to self-destruction thus prompting socialism as the capitalism model is replaced by a new system. In such socialism, Marx noted that the working class would control the society in a scheme he described as “dictatorship of the proletariat.” This is theory is essentially vital in understanding the possible trends in the society as Vissing (2011) states, “Society can sometimes act like blinders on a horse. Blinders keep us looking at only a small segment of the world.” His ultimate argument was that a classless state regarded as pure communism would eventually replace the state of socialism (Kain, 1993).
Although Marx faced serious criticisms from various scholars, he insisted that conflict and tension are vital in bringing long lasting harmony in the society. Marx observed that the current inequality in the society is due to the adoption of capitalist society. Essentially, he predicted the existence of conflicts between workers and capitalists in a capitalist model. In capitalist society, owners of the means of production use their political and economic powers to exploit employers and other subordinate workers (Avineri, 1988). Employees attempt to fight for better pay and working conditions while capitalists try to limit salaries to maximize their gains. Vissing (2011) states “Conflict theory assumes that the institutions and interactions within society foster inequality and competition”. In this rivalry, Marx observes that employers have authority because employees fear losing their hardly got jobs. I believe in this sociological view since it is apparent that an employer who defines the fate of an employee can hardly be challenged successfully. In essence, employers in the modern society are empowered by high rates of unemployment. In his theory, Marx observed that the adoption of an economic system where all members of the society will have an equal share in the society resources would be useful in dealing with the experienced social challenges in the society (Jessop, Marx & Wheatley, 1999). Competition is the society is also useful in facilitating social economic and political development. As observed by Marx, revolution is the only means of maintaining equality in the society.
Marx believed that exploitation characterising the Marxist idea could only end if the working class neglects the attitude of capitalism. Marx supported the modern idea of “Unions” by noting that employees have the potential of improving their economic situation by organizing themselves into influential groups that can pressure employers to improve their terms (Kain, 1993). In this sense, disunity among employees means a weaker ability of challenging the employer. This concept highlights the basis for the Marxist evaluation of racism, which he explain how capitalists try to divide employees along racial lines to weaken them (Jessop, Marx & Wheatley, 1999). This strategy is informed by the consideration that the White workers could hardly act in their class interests with the black workers in a situation where White employees identify mainly as Whites rather than employees. In this context, racism in the modern society may be identified systematic oppression of the minority races and it relates to the concept of White supremacy and inferiority of other races. Vissing (2011) asserts, “Marx felt that sooner or later, proletariats would overthrow the bourgeoisie in an attempt to establish a more equal, or socialist, type of social system.”
Marx’s social-political theory is highly relevance in explaining the establishment of the society and the development of the historical movements. Studying such concepts is of great value as it provides an approach of unveiling what is happening in the world and understanding the challenges and trend assumed by the modern society. Furthermore, Marx’s work is politically relevance as he identified capitalism as a wrong system that need to be abandoned. Consequently, he advocated for aggressive revolution and creation of a communist society as effective approaches for challenging this oppressive system. In summary, Karl Mark’s work is relevant in the field of sociology as it describes the origin, organization and development of the human’s social habits.
Avineri, S. (1988). The social and political thought of Karl Marx. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.
Jessop, B., Marx, K., & Wheatley, R. (1999). Karl Marx's social and political thought: 6. London [u.a.: Routledge.
Kain, P. J. (1993). Marx and modern political theory: From Hobbes to contemporary feminism. Lanham, Md: Rowman & Littlefield.
Vissing, Y. (2011). Introduction to Sociology. San Diego: Bridgepoint Education, Inc.