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Assess the Contribution of Marxism to Our Understanding of Society (33marks)

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0 8 Assess the contribution of Marxism to our understanding of society. (33 marks) http://filestore.aqa.org.uk/subjects/AQA-SCLY4-QP-JUN13.PDF Marxism is a conflict theory which was developed by Karl Marx. It is a structural approach to society, meaning that it looks at the large-scale societal structure in order to see how society functions and operates. They believe that structure is categorized into two kinds of structure; the infrastructure and the superstructure. The superstructure is the culture, institutions, political power structures, roles, rituals, and norms that influence how we behave in society. The infrastructure means the basic systems and structures that a country or an organization needs in order to work properly.
Marxism is useful to our understanding of society as it shows us how society is based on capitalism which caused the division of two opposed classes. Marx believed that in society we have two main classes; the bourgeoisie or the ruling class and the proletariat or the working class. The bourgeoisie are the owners of the means of production (factories e.g.). Marx argues that the bourgeoisie’s ownership of the means of production also gives them ideological and political power that they to exploit the proletariat. The proletariat are the working class in capitalist society. They own no means of production and are wage slaves who are forced to sell their labour power to the bourgeoisie in order for them to survive. The bourgeoisie construct the relations of production to their own benefit and the rest of the population accepts the inequalities of the system because dominant institutions such as religion and education justify the prevailing situation, which is known as false consciousness.
Even though this is the case according to Marx there is always a degree of conflict between some groups in society of whom are aware of their…...

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