Portland State University
SOC 320: Globalization
Conflict is a central part to human nature and the development of a society. Through this very basic concept, Karl Marx, a sociologist from the nineteenth century, developed a theory explaining the course of development throughout history. This theory is used to explain changes in economic systems and is key to understanding historical change. By using Karl Marx’s conflict theory, we can see how British colonialism in India triggers a dialectic materialistic process that results in social and economic reformation. In order to apply Marx’s theory we need to understand it more clearly. As a classical sociologist, Karl Marx believed that history could be interpreted as resolutions to contradictions stemming from the competing interests of people in different economic classes. He believed that “the way societies change and progress is through conflict—the engine of social change is dialectic conflict” (Allan, 2011, p. 45), a system originated by philosopher, Georg Hegel. According to Hegel, every idea or thesis has a meaning only when it is placed against an opposite, or antithesis. Conflicts between a thesis and an antithesis yield a synthesis; new information and understanding about an evolving reality. Marx agreed with Hegel’s dialectic process and furthered it by insisting that the dialectic process among material interests were the keys to social and economic change. This process can be seen through the economic reformation of India from colonial rule to national independence.
India was officially a British Colony in 1858 when power was transferred from East India Company over to the British Crown. Through British colonization, India underwent many economic and social changes. Many of the native industries declined, local agriculture turned into commercial farming for European industries, and workers were forced to work in fields...