Introducing Western Sociologists

Introducing Western Sociologists


Describe Karl Mark’s theory of class struggle.

Thoery of Class Struggle :

1. Class struggle means antagonism. Karl Marx first of all expresses this idea or theory in his work (alongwith his friend Freidrich Engels) ‘The communist Manifestos’. He argues that human history is characterised by the struggle between different social classes. Antagonism exists between the oppressor and the oppresesed which polarises the two block i.e., Bourgeoises and Proletariat.

2. Karl Marx was of the view that human society passed through various stages of development viz. (i) Primitive Communal, (ii) Ancient, (iii) Feudal and (iv) Capitalist (modern bourgeois). Each of these stages of development is defined by the mode of production.

3. For Karl Marx land, labour, capital and enterprises are major factors of production. A sum total of these factors constitute the mode of production.

4. The oppressors have control over the factors of production and the oppressed are deprived of it. Therefore, another phase ‘haves’ and ‘have nots’ is used to characterise these two classes.

5. Each stages of development contained the seeds of its own destruction. The conflict whether it is between master and slaves, land lords and serfs, bourgeoisie and proletariat characterised all stages of development.

6. The contenders differed in each stage. The class struggle takes palce in the capitalistic stage of development. The bourgeoise (i.e., the capitalists) and the proletariat become polarised and conflict takes place between them.

7. It is the capitalist mode of production when proletariat (working class) becomes conscious of its class position. At this stage the proletariats acquire the revolutionary character by overthrowing these oppressors, that is capitalist or bourgeoisie.

8. Karl Marx explained the process of class struggle with the help of dialectical materialism.

9. According to Karl Marx, classes are determined on the basis of individual’s relation to the means of production. These relations are independent of individual’s will.

10. Individual’s class is determined not on the basis of his/her occupation (or rank) but on the basis of his/her position (status) relative to the means of production (i.e., land, labour, capital and enterprise).

11. In a capitalist society, the means of production and distribution of products are in the hands of the few, the so called ‘haves’. These few people who have the economic power also take control of political machinery including the courts, the police and the military. The class which is economically dominant also dominates the intellectual sphere.

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