This volume presents those writings of Marx that best reveal his contribution to sociology, particularly to the theory of society and social change. The editor, Neil J. Smelser, has divided these selections into three topical sections and has also included works by Friedrich Engels. The first section, "The Structure of Society," contains Marx's writings on the material basis of classes, the basis of the state, and the basis of the family. Among the writings included in this section are Marx's well-known summary from the Preface of A Contribution to a Critique of Political Economy and his equally famous observations on the functional significance of religion in relation to politics. The second section is titled "The Sweep of Historical Change." The first selection here contains Marx's first statement of the main precapitalist forms of production. The second selection focuses on capitalism, its contradictions, and its impending destruction. Two brief final selections treat the nature of communism, particularly its freedom from the kinds of contradictions that have plagued all earlier forms of societies. The last section, "The Mechanisms of Change," reproduces several parts of Marx's analysis of the mechanisms by which contradictions develop in capitalism and generate group conflicts. Included is an analysis of competition and its effects on the various classes, a discussion of economic crises and their effects on workers, and Marx's presentation of the historical specifics of the class struggle. In his comprehensive Introduction to the selections, Professor Smelser provides a biography of Marx, indentifies the various intellectual traditions which formed the background for Marx's writings, and discusses the selections which follow. The editor describes Marx's conception of society as a social system, the differences between functionalism and Marx's theories, and the dynamics of economic and political change as analyzed by Marx.
In 1864 - two years before the publication of The Communist Manifesto and 21 years before the publication of Das Kapital - Karl Marx published an essay titled Peuchet on Suicide. The essay was originally presented as a translation of excerpts from the memoirs of Jacques Peuchet (1758-1830), a leading French police administrator, economist and statistician. Plaut and Anderson reveal that Marx's Peuchet on Suicide is not a straightforward translation, but is an edited version in which Marx adds passages of his own, altering the emphasis of the text from a moral and psychological focus to a profoundly social one. Thus, the essay very strongly reflects Marx's own position on this controversial subject. Sociologist Kevin Anderson provides an extensive introduction situating the essay in the context of Marx's work, especially that on gender; Plaut's essay focuses on the psychological aspects of the work, in particular contrasting Marx's thoughts on suicide with those of Freud and Durkheim.
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A complete modern compilation of M/E's writings on unions, strikes, labor aristocracy, U.S. labor and more from 1833-1894. Introduction and notes by the editor, formerly a shop steward, now a writer. 1st paperback edition.
One of the most notorious works of modern times, as well as one of the most influential, Capital is an incisive critique of private property and the social relations it generates. Living in exile in England, where this work was largely written, Marx drew on a wide-ranging knowledge of its society to support his analysis and generate fresh insights. Arguing that capitalism would create an ever-increasing division in wealth and welfare, he predicted its abolition and replacement by a system with common ownership of the means of production. Capital rapidly acquired readership among the leaders of social democratic parties, particularly in Russia and Germany, and ultimately throughout the world, to become a work described by Marx's friend and collaborator Friedrich Engels as 'the Bible of the Working Class'