I am an English major, and reading sociological theory is not really what I am used to, so I was not entirely confident that I would understand Karl Marx, much less get anything from reading his work. My exposure to Marx prior to now has been minimal – nothing apart from some scanty information in high school European history. So while I would not say I went in to the reading with any specific ideas about Marx, I was certainly intimidated and trepidatious due to my limited understanding of social science in general. To my great surprise, however, reading Marx was both affecting and interesting for me because I have realized how relevant his work is still, and even in my own life.
One thing I was particularly struck by is that dialectical materialism, Marx’s method of choice, keeps his work grounded in the real. I see this as important when examining Marx from a sociological perspective because dialectical materialism makes the author’s claims about everything from class struggle to communism all the more relatable and understandable for readers, myself included, in that said claims revolve around material with with virtually everyone is familiar and reliant upon. Indeed, for me the understanding that I have come to have of dialectical materialism in Marx has led me to view his work in a new light. Regardless of whether or not I agree with him on all fronts, I realized how much Marx’s work affects me because of my living in a capitalist system. While capitalism is ever-changing, the basic structure of which Marx writes is still operational, and I have found myself examining what Marx might write or think about how much of my daily life is dictated by this system. Thusly, reading his work has felt more worthwhile than I originally thought it would be.