Karl Marx, Uncategorized

Marx Response

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.


7 thoughts on “Marx Response

  1. farhanauddin221 says:

    Molly, I can totally relate to your initial feelings and thoughts about Karl Marx. I was nervous at first as well. I thought the reading was going to be complicated and I would be lost in class because I had no clue what was going on. After going over it in class slowly and taking apart everything Marx said in Communist Manifesto and Capital Volume One, I was able to understand how to go about reading his book. In many ways we fear things that are unknown or not in our domain. If we give it a chance and read through it carefully, we can actually get the main ideas that Marx introduces.
    I was actually having a hard time understanding Material Condition. However, in the last class, through my peers help I was able to understand what it is. (Correct me if I am wrong) Material Condition can be thought as the opposite of Idealism. While Material Idealism deals with intangible things such as ideas, Material condition is tangible. It is about the physical things, basically resources needed to exist.
    I feel that Marx does an effective job in making his readers understand class struggle through dialectic materialism. The interplay between proletariat and bourgeois create a synthesis (class struggle). Karl Marx’s first statement about how class struggle is history is interesting. I agree with him that class struggle has been part of society, although, the appearance of it has revolutionized from place and time.

    • Christina says:

      You are close with the Materialism/Idealism but there is no such thing as Material Idealism. The material conditions just means when we are talking about the conditions we live in, in a materialist way. It’s just another way of saying materialism. And your definition of “material idealism” is correct, except it is the definition of “idealism”. In this case materialism and idealism are like a dialectic for understanding the world.

  2. Delving into the sociology field is something new to me as I don’t really major in it. This much detail on social theorists is something that I am also covering in depth for the first time. I do agree and believe that understanding dialectical materialism beforehand really lays out the foundation for the rest of the information that follows. Even now there are times where I go off the deep end in understanding and consider information to be over complicated. I tend to see it as more of a process in which it starts off as being focused on businesses and transactions in one model. From that point on it tends to grow into a wider scale being that of monopoly not only bound through class struggles and one society but by various societies from different countries.
    Seeing a fellow member list class struggle as being the synthesis part of the equation redirected my way of thinking for a little bit. For confirmation purposes, as covered in class synthesis grows to overpower the bourgeoisie. So then how would class struggles be labeled under the same category? History of everything is the history of class struggles. Even today there are frequent occurrences illustrating class struggles. I just wouldn’t really understand how that would be able to overpower the bourgeoisie since it is something that hasn’t been able to be demolished. At most I’ll be seeing discussions as an important way to clarify and get more feedback on the different aspects of the theorists.

  3. vpa0001 says:

    The material in this class is tough to understand with just reading it once. I agree with you all because this is just as hard for me to understand. However, rereading the Marx’s readings in class makes more sense and how it is related to our personal life as well. I am still confused about what Marx means by the terms oppressed and oppressor. Also the term dialectical materialist is a complex method for me to fully understand what it actually means. From my knowledge I believe it is the way of understanding reality. Whether it has to do with emotions, thoughts or just the materialistic world that we live in. Today professor Nadler went into detail about what commodity really is which made me realize how this concept of Marx ties into my everyday life and how he phrases things more in a complicated way, but realistically it is extremely simply if you find the way of unfolding it. After finding a way of unfolding Marx’s idea things start to make more sense and I agree with what Marx has to say about things and his ideas make sense. Another thing that I was also not 100% sure about was the differences between the use of value and the exchange of value.

  4. farhanauddin221 says:

    Bishwa (I hope I spelled your name right.), don’t worry I was confused as well about dialectical materialism. Professor Nadler went over this idea in class. This what i have in my notes: Dialectical Materialism is a sort of method of inquiry. Dialectical is the relationship between two ideas or you can even think about it as an interplay of two things; such as bourgeois and proletariat. If bourgeois and the proletariat are the thesis and antithesis then dialectical materialism is the synthesis. It is the overall idea.

    • Christina says:

      Actually in the case of the bourgeoisie and the proletariat, capitalism is the synthesis. Dialectical Materialism isn’t a synthesis because that’s just the tool you are using to talk about it.

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