Sociology developed in Europe in the 19th century, primarily as an attempt to understand the massive social and economic changes that had been sweeping across Western Europe in the 17th-19th centuries. These changes were later described as ‘the great transition’ from ‘pre-modern’ to ‘modern’ societies.
Ontological assumptions of Marxist Theory:
Epistemology of realism
Marx counts as a ‘key sociological thinker’, but
• Contrary to what one might infer from the history of Marxism after his death, Marx had little political or theoretical influence in his own lifetime. His collaborator, Engels was better known than Marx in the 1840s and 1950s.
• Yet Marx is often heralded as a founder of sociology. But Marx himself did not identify his writing with sociology. He dismissed this discipline as ‘rubbish’ on reading its founding father, Auguste Comte.
• Max Weber and Emile Durkheim often debated with Marx’s ghost in developing their own sociological approaches. Although Marxism has frequently been declared moribund, it has equally often been revived and integrated into current sociological thinking.
Who influenced Marx:
• The dialectical method and historical orientation of Hegel
o The dialectic (way of thinking and the image of the world ' dynamic rather than static)
o Idealism (only mind and psychological constructs exist, the ‘spirit’ of society)
• The classical political economy of Smith and Ricardo
o Labour as a source of all wealth
• French socialist thought, in particular the republican conception of Rousseau and Proudhon's critique of private property;
• the young Hegelians, in particular Feuerbach and his idea of God as a projection maid by people of their human essence onto an impersonal force (materialist philosophy)
Who was influenced by Marx:
Georg Lukács ;... [continues]
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