Assess the Contribution of Marxism to Our Understanding of Society. (33 Marks)

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Assess the contribution of Marxism to our understanding of society. (33 marks) [Althusser; Bonger; Bowles and Gintis; Craib; Durkheim; Engels; Gouldner; Gramsci; Harvey; Marcuse; Marx; Rowbotham; Weber; Willis; Zaretsky.] Karl Marx is regarded as the founding father of Marxism, as the schools of Marxism were derived from Marx (1867 - 1973), who wanted to create a scientific explanation of societies. Two of these schools are Humanist Marxism, who give greater power to the individual to make choices and Structural Marxism, who believe that change comes as the product of changes within the structures society. Like Durkheim (a Functionalist), Marx believed it was possible to understand society scientifically and scientific knowledge would lead to a better society. However (unlike Durkheim), he believed capitalism would increase human misery before giving way to a classless, communist society, in which humans would be free to fulfil their potential. He believed that history would go through a series of base changes – primitive communism, ancient society, feudalism, capitalism and then communism. The organisation of production in a society shapes the nature of society – refers to this as the base/superstructure. According to Marx – in a capitalist society, the economic relationship of exploitation requires ideologies in the superstructure to cover up inequality – they are not innocent/neutral because they justify inequality and serve the interest of powerful groups. Marx argued that the organisation of production in a society shapes the nature of society – refers to this as base/superstructure. The base of the infrastructure is the economy – determines the ideas of society and superstructure – social, cultural, political and ideological parts of society. All history can be divided into five epochs/period; primitive consumerism – everything is shared, in class
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