UPSC SOCIOLOGY – Paper 1 – SOCIOLOGICAL THINKERS – Karl Marx- Historical materialism, mode of production, alienation, class struggle.
- Class is central concept in Marx’s writing to understand society as a whole.
- Class results from the relations of production which creates different positions.
- “A group of people sharing the same position in the process of production” – Definition
TWO BROAD CLASSES
They are the owners of forces of production and are dominant in society.
- Have Nots
They are the class who are exploited and does not own any forces of production.
FORMATION OF CLASS
- As mankind progressed from Primitive Communism, surplus started to emerge and some men started to control the forces of production.
- Now unequal relations of production emerged.
- This lead to first class formation.
- Polarization will occur with increasing exploitation and will also be accompanied by class antagonism or class struggle.
CLASS IN ITSELF AND CLASS FOR ITSELF
- Class in itself
It is only an analytical construct to Marx inorder to stratify position.
It is by virtue of people having a common relationship to the means of production.
For example, proletariats are class in itself because they have some common attributes like lack of ownership of production and being deprived of fruits of production.
- Class for itself
A class in itself becomes a class for itself when the contradiction between the consciousness of its members and the reality of their situation ends.
Members become aware of the exploitative situation.
It is only when workers become class for itself that they will be in a position to unite against the capitalist.
It is a phase which is a precondition for the change of mode of production to Socialism.
Final translation of class in itself to class for itself occurs only in Communism.
- Marx see classes in society in terms of antagonistic cooperation.
- Class struggle is also inherent in Marxian conception of class.
- ‘History of hitherto existing societies is history of class struggle’.
- Conflict between the two classes in every mode of production is the force behind historical developments.
- New things and new modes of production emerge as a result of class struggle.
Example or Application for Class struggle
- In ancient and feudal mode of production, the have notes was supported by the emerging class which is a representative of the new forces of production.
- This emerging class of people is from the relations of new mode of production.
- Thus, ironically the have nots in their own struggle are actually fulfilling the interest of the emerging class resulting in a situation of farce.
- The have nots fall into another exploitative relation.
- In feudal system also, the serfs were aided by some enterprising feudal lords who pioneered the factory system of production.
- It is only in capitalist mode of production that workers gained a critical mass in terms of true consciousness, leadership, ideology and change the structure itself.
- The ensuing revolution is for emancipation of all.
- Workers’ Revolution will result into a state of transition and they will take over the state and abolish all the private property.
- Marx refers to this as the stage of Socialism.
- Later workers will renounce the rule leading to a state of communism.
- The collapse of capitalism did not happen as predicted.
- Communism is still a utopian concept.
- Classes exist even in socialist countries.
- Contrary to Marxist prediction, class struggle has moderated even in European countries which are epitome of capitalism.
- Apart from economic bases, there are other bases of stratification in society.
- The manual working class has become increasingly heterogenous or dissimilar and there is only a little chance of uniting them for a revolution.