Presentations text content in Marxist Theory Marxist Theory
-Based on philosophy of Karl Marx (1818-1883)
-German philosopher and economist
“Whoever controls the means of production (factories) in a society controls society.”Slide3
What do Marxists believe?
and keeping economic power is the motive behind all social and political activities
(education, philosophy, religion, government, the arts, science, technology, the media)
Economics is the base and the social/political and ideological realities are built on top of it
There’s Two Kinds of People in the World:
Bourgeoisie (haves) – those who control the world’s natural, economic, and human resources
) – the majority of the population who perform the manual
that keeps the wealthy rich.
Question: what would happen if the proletariat banded together (all voted one way? Boycotted a company?)Slide5
Hey Baby, Nice Class
Five basic groups in Western society:
lower class (limited career/educational opportunities),
class (own a home/car, can send kids to college),
upper class (two homes, nice vacations, luxury car, etc), the super-rich (the American ‘aristocracy’)Slide6
Fight the power!
Marxists believe the lower classes are held back by ideologies
Ideology: a belief
Undesirable (negative) ideologies promote repressive political agendas
; to be accepted by the citizens, they pass themselves off as “natural”Slide7
ideology that equates your value as a human being with the social class to which one
from country A fighting against poor from country B while the military-industrial complex rakes in the profitsSlide9
Religion is used
to keep the poor satisfied with their lot in life (e.g. with the promise of a better afterlife)Slide10
can be as “good” as a richer person if I buy the same things;
profits for the wealthy who manufacture those productsSlide11
5. Alienated Labour
factory workers produce only a small part of the whole
are disconnected from the products and the value of their
warn against seeing people and things only for what they can do for us.
Marxists propose that we think about things/people as having three different valuesSlide13
A) Use Value
book for the pleasure of reading, or a doorstop. Useful
Date a guy because he’s funny and has a nice smile.Slide14
B) Exchange Value
sell the book for money to buy something else
I go on a date with a guy because I think he’ll take me somewhere fancy and pay!Slide15
C) Sign-Exchange Value
carry the book around so people will see it and think I’m smart/that book cost a lot!
I go on a date with a guy because he’ll introduce me to other rich
people and make my friends jealousSlide16
Literature is a reflection of culture, and culture can be influenced by literature….
…which means that literature can instigate revolution!Slide17
Questions Marxists ask
Does the work reinforce (intentionally or not) capitalist or classist values? Critics should expose and condemn that agenda.
How might the work critique capitalism or classism? Critics should recognize if a text has a Marxist agenda.
Is the work ideologically conflicted (e.g. condemns some capitalism but also celebrates overconsumption?)
How does the text reflect (intentionally or not) the socioeconomic conditions of the time it was written or set?
How might the work be seen as a critique of organized religion? Does religion in the text function to keep a character(s) from resisting oppression?Slide18