Choose any one concept or argument developed within classical sociology. Critically evaluate the use of this concept or argument by contemporary sociology in trying to understand a current social issue.
In my essay I am going to discuss the current economic upheaval, its impact on modern society and how Marx and his theory of alienation are still relevant today. The topics covered will include classical Marxist sociological thought and modern concepts with regard to the current economic situation, for example, Industrial Action, job insecurity and the erosion of the welfare state. I will argue that people in society today, whether they are private or public sector workers or those claiming welfare are still exploited and alienated by capitalism just as they were in Marx’s day.
Marx saw alienation as a process in which humanity is turned into a stranger in a world created by labour (Classical Social Theory, Craib 1997) by this he meant that the worker became a commodity and part of a production line, losing themselves and their identities to the means of production. ‘ The shift away from the freedom of human interaction through to the way in which society and social relations impose themselves upon is summed up (at least as far as capitalism is concerned) in the theory of alienation.’ (Classical Social Theory, Craib 1997). Marx was convinced that the division of labour was the reason that man was alienated from his labour. He saw the proletariat exploited for his labour by the bourgeoisie who owned the means of production. Marx defined labour as “mans self confirming essence” and noted that capitalism had transformed human labour into an object, an external thing. (Classical Social Theory, Craib 1997). It is important to understand Marx’s theory of alienation as I will be discussing its relevance in today’s society and the impact of this theory when applied to modern society. Employers only employ workers if they possess skills that are of a use value...
References: Giddens A, 2006, Sociology Polity Press, Cambridge
Craib I, 1997, Classical Social Theory, oxford University Press Oxford
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