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Quiz Two (1) Explain as best as you can what Marx’s dialectic methodis all about.
Marx’s dialectic method is anapproach to analyze society by focusing on contradictions that can be found inpractice in the present.There are a few main components ofMarx’s dialectical method (Ritzer 2018: 46):1. Fact and ValueIn a dialectic method, one does not consider socialfacts to be detached from social values. Passion and interest add real worldvalue and application to research. It also provides a rich depth to theanalysis of nature.
2. Reciprocal RelationsA dialectic method also does not view the world insimplistic, unidirectional relationships, but that relationships are complexand intertwined. Reciprocal relationships are those in which a factor mayimpact another factor, but that factor it impacts may concurrently impact theformer. This approach does consider causality, but also takes into account thecomplex ways in which social dynamics work.3. Past, Present and FutureA dialectic method also takes into account how thepresent is related to the past and the future. It scrutinizes the past andstudies trends of the present to comprehend future possibilities. A dialecticmethod is also innately political because it considers what actions can be takenin the present to steer in the direction of particular future possibilities.
4. No inevitabilitiesA dialectic method also does not presume that the futureis set in stone and that certain factors from the present will lead to adefinitive future outcome. It believes that society is multi-folded and thereare many possibilities for the future, all of which are being influenced by thepresent.
One dialectic method for understanding the future is that of lookingat the world through thesis, antithesis and synthesis which is unsuitable forsocial use because it is not deterministic. Marx did not agree with this methodbecause, according to him it was oversimplified and an abstract concept distantfrom actuality.5.
Actors and StructuresIn the dialectic method, one also focuses on therelationship between actors and social structures and its changing nature.Actors create large social structures ad these structures help those thatcreate it. However, at the same time, they are also harmful and dangerous tothose people. The dialectic method takes this into consideration along withthis relationship in the past, present and the future. (2) What does Marx mean by alienation? According to Marx, humans areintrinsically related to their labor and this relationship is corrupted bycapitalism. Humans perform labor to survive and to thrive and they are innatelysocial in this pursuit. In a capitalistic system, people perform labor not forthemselves but for capitalists.
This prevents their labor from being seen by peopleas an “expression of purpose” and it does not change or move people.Labor is separated from the person since it is no longer a part of the person’spurpose. Labor no longer makes the person happy, since labor is”coerced” for money for survival. Since people are alienated from their labor, Marx called thisalienation. There are four different componentsof alienation-1. Alienation from Productive Activity2. Alienation from the Product3.
Alienation from Fellow Workers4. Alienation from Human Potential (3) According to Marx, capitalism inevitably producesinequality. Describe how? According to Marx, capitalisminevitably produces inequality. In a capitalist system, there are the workerwho sell their labor for wages to capitalists who use it for profit. In thissystem, workers are alienated from their labor to earn wages, since they needmoney for survival.
However capitalists earn money by selling commodities thatthey get from by the labor of the workers for more money. Capitalists earnprofit by minimizing the cost of labor. Thus, in this system, capitalists areclearly advantaged. They control not only the labor, but also the product, theprocess and the means of production. Capitalists make more money through themoney they have, while workers face low job security due to automation of theirjob and other practices which the capitalist may choose to increase profit.Thus, there exists an inherent inequality in a capitalistic system. (4) What does class consciousness refer to? “Class consciousness refers tothe belief systems shared by those who occupy the same class position withsociety”.
It does not mean the general view of the class, but theirawareness of their position and what might be in their benefit. In capitalismcomes false consciousness. Workers are not completely aware of howdisadvantaged they have been by the capitalist system. For class consciousness,workers must no longer be under the illusions of false consciousness and mustrecognize their position within a capitalistic system. (5) Who are the bourgeoisie and proletariat in today’sworld? Provide examples. And do think they have class consciousness? In today’s world, there are manyexamples of the bourgeoisie and the proletariat.
One example would be workers at aMcDonald’s franchise. The workers at the franchise perform their labor for theprofit of the franchise owner. They don’t own the products of their labor orthe means of production. They have very little chance for growth and exchangeof anything other than their labor and can be easily replaced by thecapitalistic franchise owner.
They form the proletariat since they arealienated from their labor and are underpaid in this system. The franchiseowner uses money from the restaurant to invest in another venture (like anotherfranchise) for more capital. Another example would beconstruction workers. Their labor is used to build the product of a house andthey also do not control the means of production.
They are exploited by thebourgeoisie construction company executives. The construction companyexecutives profit from their labor to invest for more money. Even at a macro-level the entiretyof the American capitalistic system we have the working class who know they arepaid less for their manual labor jobs and a few blue collar workers whose laboris used to run businesses in capitalist set-ups. We also have the middle classand upper class who reap the benefits of being capitalists. I think they do have some awarenessof their oppression, since they know they are underpaid and that they do nothave the same benefits as the capitalists.
However, I do not think there ismuch class consciousness, mainly because they voted for Donald Trump, anultimate proponent of the bourgeoisie and how capitalism makes the rich grow richer.This might in part be due to their belief in the “American Dream”where everyone is equal and can become successful and rich as well as otherfactors including race and gender. References Ritzer, George. 2018.
Sociological Theory (10th ed). New York:McGraw Hill.