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Neo Marxism Essay

1216 words - 5 pages

Development of the Neo-Marxism
Perhaps we could claim Karl Marx to be the most influential sociologist whose work is the platform on which sociology stands. Marx had developed many sociological theories that continue to be redefined and reemployed in a variety of contexts and structures. However, there are many gaps in his work that contemporary theorists sought to link. Marx major contribution to society is the in-depth analysis of economic forces. Marx recognized that almost any society is divided into two classes of people with relation to their mean of productions. He categorized people into the bourgeoisies and proletarians and was able to coin many terms related to the capitalist ...view middle of the document...

The critical theorists investigated Marx work and were able to look at it from different point of view. Here we can see a profound shift from Marx materialistic view and social transformation to individuals’ perception of reality and their social system. Contrary to Marx who claimed that the capitalist system acts directly on individuals, the critical theorists understood that the materials of the totalitarian systems are repressive to the consciousness of the individuals. That is, they deserted the analyses of economic conditions and considered ideology and culture to be the primarily consequence for the degeneration of humanity.
In Dialectic of Enlightenment, Horkheimer reproduced Marx work on alienation, yet it appears in a distinct outfit. Marx stated that workers have no control over the products they produce, and this process of production dehumanized the society. Horkheimer stated that our rationality became irrational, and instead of using reason to liberate us, we are increasingly becoming dehumanized through reason and the products of society. For him, when our reason becomes corrupted, we become unable to distinguish the objective truth. Unlike Marx who foresaw a utopian society, Horkheimer had a pessimistic view about establishing a tangible social change with a spoiled reason. What appeared as an engine of change to Marx was a source of repression to Horkheimer. Horkheimer perceived that over time, reason becomes increasingly instrumentalized. He saw that reason became a methodology, and commodity logic is set in place.
Enlightenment brought an evolution and growth of individuality. Horkheimer worked closely with Adorno, and they developed the term pseudo-individuality. This term is again related to Marx and alienation; here we can see that people are alienated from their pure mental thoughts. For example, if we would like to shop for a shirt, we would spend a certain amount of time thinking about what color and what brand we want to buy. We think that we are making those choices in our consciousness without realizing that these choices resemble an internal sameness- it is just a shirt that would function in an equal manner to other piece of clothing. Furthermore, the manufacturer and the predominant fashion trend preset these selections. In actuality, what may seem as a free choice for individual has been manipulated by the structure of the modern systems. Our choices and reasoning have become alien to us.
The most important critical theorist who built on Marx ideas was Marcuse. Instead of blaming the capitalist system, Marcuse described any contemporary social system as dictatorial. Unlike Horkheimer and Adorno, Marcuse reexamined Marxism and modified it through the field of psychology. He incorporated Freud’s work into...

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