What was Karl Marx's contribution to sociology?


Quick Answer

Karl Marx's contributions to sociology include the concepts of dialectical materialism and alienation. Along with Emile Durkheim and Max Weber, Marx is seen as one of the three founders of the social sciences. Marx's theories, which have come to be grouped under the term Marxism, centered on the intersection of society, economics and politics.

Continue Reading
What was Karl Marx's contribution to sociology?
Credit: Getty Images News CC-BY 2.0

Full Answer

Marx perceived societal progress in human history through the idea of class struggle. The notion of dialectical materialism focuses, in some sense, on the societal struggle between the ruling economic class and the subjugated working class. Marx saw this system as untenable and predicted that the economic apparatus of capitalism would eventually collapse on itself, leading to socialism.

Marx was among the first thinkers to recognize the sociological impact of economics and class stratification. He investigated the effects of the capitalist system on the lives of workers as well the deep relationship between class inequality and culture.

Marx wrote extensively about the problem of alienation, in which laborers essentially give up their labor to the market, seeing little in return – small profits and no sense of accomplishment at having actually made something. Marx argued that this alienation from labor, as well as the alienation of being trapped in a social class with little control over economic circumstances, amounted to a fundamental disconnection between humans and their humanity.

Learn more about Social Sciences

Related Questions