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In sociology, why do we think of the work of Karl Marx as 'conflict theory' - Essay Example

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KARL MARX Karl Marx as “Conflict Theory”: A Sociological Standpoint Almost everyone is familiar with the concept of rich vs. poor. Why does one person own a big house and a swimming pool while someone else lives under a bridge? The simple answer is that sometimes that is the way the economic cookie crumbles…
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Download file to see previous pages However, this was first presented as an official theory by Karl Marx—who laid the groundwork for a number of social movements that would redefine history. From a sociological standpoint, what is meant when Karl Marx’s theory is referred to as a “conflict theory”? Usually, when one thinks of Karl Marx, he automatically conjures up thoughts of conflict theory. Why is this so? The reason is that—in some circles—Marx is thought to be “…the founder of conflict theory…” (Henslin, 2007, pp. 28). Social conflict theory, is, in a nutshell, that in society, there are the rich and the poor—and that the rich are the powerful who usurp many of the resources and exploit the poor in order to gain more wealth. Marx’s theory was a wake-up call to the masses. For Marx, capitalism did not mean progress; rather, it was a scourge on the conscience of modern man, a man who was detached from the community and the communal struggles surrounding him. Marx “…often saw social conflict as rooted in private ownership…” (Bartos and Wehr, 2002, pp. 40). The difference between the haves and the have-nots has always been a pressing social issue, becoming even more so when capitalism was the governing system. This is the kind of dominance that social theory rails against. Marx’s main idea was that the community should struggle together. The community should suffer together. ...
Communist ideology gained popularity throughout the Cold War. Vladimir Lenin adopted the ideology as his own strategy to not only have the people contribute to the estate communally, but also to empower the economy of the Russian state. “Leninism was presented as the correct theory and practice of Marxism and as the theory of scientific communism, incorporating the dictatorship of the proletariat…Marx’s critique[s] were also reformulated as societal laws of development that fed into the study of class relations [and] production…” (Lowes, 2006, pp. 158). The notion that the working class was the one in control was the main staple of Communism. The people were the ones in control. “The working class had to ‘conquer’ its freedom under the flag of the Communist party” (Weitz, 1997, pp. 250). People did not own any possessions. No religious expression was allowed, and very strict laws of ethics were followed. Communism was an experiment that failed—badly. Mann (2002) states, “Communist governments — many of them led by men trained in Moscow — are in command of nations ruling almost 800 million people” (pp. 115). There are still Communist countries existing today. “There remain at least some common features among the five remaining Communist states—China, Cuba, Laos, North Korea, and Vietnam—although the differences between, for example, China and North Korea are enormous” (Brown, 2009, pp. 3). Many of the people in these countries subsist in squalor and have little economic or collective bargaining power. This is where socialism becomes an alternative option. Even though people may not like the idea of a Communist government, socialism ...Download file to see next pagesRead More
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