Marxism Introduction - PowerPoint by lnd15050

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									Marxism: Introduction
       Class Relations, Capitalism and
   Commodification, Base and Super Structure
                    2007 Fall
 Starting Questions
 Focuses in this unit
 Karl Marx –two basic ideas
     Dialectical Materialism; Basic Terms
     Critique of Capitalism
     Social Structure
 Louis Althusser
 Some Examples and Summary
 Next Time
Starting Questions (1): Economic
 Is money (or the economic relations we are in) the
  most important determinant in our life?
 The apparently ―non-materialist‖ aspects of life –
      the mental: our belief, ideas and ideals;
      the spiritual: our ―soul‖
      literature and all the cultural products.
      Love -- Can love transcend the conditioning of money
     and the other social factors (e.g. class, educational
     background, etc.)?
General Responses: (1)
Political Economy of Love
   「如果不答應我,就是不愛我。」這句話的邏輯其實
    引來報復。 power relations
   曾幾何時,金錢已經變成愛情的衡量標準,贈金送鑽
    買花購禮,成為情人之間的主要語言。(e.g. 真金真性
   日前一位百貨公司的年輕專櫃小姐,嫁給了年老多金
    (賴 ) (The other side of 門當戶對)
   老夫少妻 浪漫不浪漫?平路
Starting Questions (2):
Capitalism and Class Relations
   Which class do you belong to? Are we all part of
    the “middle classes”? What types of “class relations”
    do you see in our society?
   What type of “relations of production” are there at
    school and in between the teachers and students?
   What is capitalism? How does it influence our life?
    (ref. 82)
   Where do our desires for “things” come from?
   Why do we want more than what is “useful”? Do we
    have insatiable desire? If so, why?
General Responses: (2)
Relations of Production
   Class – no longer most basic category in any kind of
    social analysis.
        Can be combined with the other categories such as race and
        Can be re-defined -- a. e.g. Val -- Ref. ―Psychoanalysis:
        Challenging Freud‖ 44:00 --> selling lifestyle 54:00 (SRI's Values
        and Lifestyle Program )
        Most of us are ―laborers‖—wage earners. (source)
   But it is still important to analyze the power relations in
    society and in literature– manipulation,
    control/exploitation, inequality, and dialectical relations
   e.g. love between Daisy and Gatsby, Sons and Lovers, (Wide Sargasso Sea,
    The Piano, ―The Blind Man,‖ etc.)
General Responses: (2) -2
Teacher & Student Relations
   One example (Marx: The Greatest Thinker 16:00) –system vs.
        Students have the right to choose to do the ―stupid‖
       homework or not;
        Teachers are there for the students. Students should have
       the right to choose.
        If learning is students’ own responsibility, then teachers
       don’t need to try to motivate students.
 Are teachers authorities to rebel against?
 Are students buyers free to choose what they want? ―I
  don’t think the school will like it.‖
 Why does the father say that if the teachers serves the
  students as ―customers,‖ the former will not guide or
  motivate the students?
General Responses: (2) -3
Teacher & Student Relations
   Teacher-student: commercial relation and others
        Teachers are no saints, though they are seen so traditionally,
       but a worse problem is that many students do not see
       themselves as ―buyers.‖
 Teachers (like experts and those with technical skills ) are
  ―professionals‖ –they can produce more knowledge and
  thus more of their labor power and values (cultural capital).
 They, like the students, are still in the system of production,
  domination and subordination. Teachers do not own the
  means of production. (Ref. Scase 80)
Q(3): Conspicuous Consumption
and Commodity Fetishism?
    林立雯承認自己的個性孤僻,不喜歡出門逛街,但為
     都「敗」在上面了 (中國時報 影視娛樂 920415)

    What is the line between collection as a hobby
     and fetishism?
    Are you a conspicuous buyer? (One who keeps
     up with the Jones?) (ref. 83)
General Responses: (3)
Our Consumption Habits
 Why can’t we stop buying?
 Possible reasons:
     Loss of Religion and Sense of Stability; Faster Commodity
     Turnover. .
     Devaluation of the goods we buy or own; ―positional goods‖ –
     When more people own the goods, the satisfaction it brings is
     reduced. (e.g. LV bag—fake and real; shark fin; etc.)
     Endless Desires and Constant Stimulation: Durkheim: human
     wants are in principle limitless; capitalism develops too fast,
     always changing our expectations. Stoppable only by 1)
     repressive social morality; 2) regulating capitalism.
     Marxist views: (more later) capitalism creates false needs, sign
     values and Commodity Fetishism
Marxism: Topics & Schools on
1.   Marx and Vulgar Marxism       1. Dialectic Materialism,
2.   Western Marxists :               Class, Commodification
     Althusser’s theory of            and Social Structure
     Ideology & Gramsci’s
     Hegemony                      2. Ideology: Literature &
3.   American & British Marxism:      Society
     Jameson and Eagleton          3. Marxist Literary Criticism
4.   Foucault &文學社會學的              4. Literature as Discourse
Marx: Basic Ideas
1.   Economic Determinism (82); (previous Q & A)
2.   Dialectic Materialism (79-80, 85) --(His Dialectic View
     of History: Revises Hegel’s view of history)
3.   Critique of Capitalism –
          Exploitation of laborers and Alienation of them from their
           productive process (82-83)
          Commodification of Human Identity and Relations (83)
4.       Social Structure: Base and Superstructure (83-84),
     reflection and production theories (81, 84)
Dialectic Materialism:
Marx’s Two major Statements
 It is not the consciousness of men that
 determines their being, but, on the contrary,
 their social being that determines their
 consciousness. (ref. chap 6 p. 81)
 (In other words-- Consciousness does not
 determine our socio-economic existence; our
 socio-economic existence determines
 consciousness.)          Economic Determinism
Marx: Two major Statements (2)
 The philosophers have only interpreted the world in
  various way; the point is to change it.
 Has Marxism failed after the fall of Berlin Wall, the
  collapse of Soviet Union and the capitalization of
  mainland China?
 e.g. Soviet Union – 3 years after their its collapse, ½ of
  Russia’s economy is private owned. (Saunders 4)
 China –capitalism has been developing since 1970’s in
  some special economic zones
     中國資本主義-- 依附性發展(部份須要服從帝國主義的積累需
     工人階級已經高達兩億多,佔全國勞動人口三成多 (source)
Economic Determinism: Some
Basic Terms
   Means of production -- 製造媒介(工具﹚〃
       e.g. Machines (printing machine, steam engine) –in industrial
       media and computer in our age of Information; those who own them,
      or know well how to use them, get to hold power over those who
       Added: systems of production (e.g. publishing company, school)
   Modes of production -- 製造形式〃
       In the industrial society -- mechanical reproduction;
       in our "post-industrial" age -- electronic reproduction.
   Relations of production -- 製造關係
      between the capitalist class who owns those means of production,
      and the proletarian class (working class; wager earner) whose labour-
      power the capitalist buys for profit.
Economic Determinism: example
Production of a novel today: influenced by
      Means of Production – typing or handwriting;
      including only verbal language or also drawing.
      Modes of Production – feudal (copying), industrial
      (print copy), electronic (multimedia, or internet and
      Dialectical Relations of Production – from production
      (writer + cover designer + publishers) to distribution
      (with bookstores and news media) to consumption
   The material aspects determine the expression and
    communication of ideas.
Marx’s Critique of Capitalism
1.   Capitalism – caused by industrialism’s
     amplification of labor power (clip 14:00) with
     machines                 surplus values
     accumulation and expansion of capitals
      Investment             Productive process
      (re-investment)             (the laborers +
                                                  (Scase 13)
      Economic surplus             commodities
Marx’s Critique of Capitalism (2)
2. Consequences:
      exploitation and alienation of laborers,
      Exchange/sign values over use values; (e.g. LV
      reification(物化) and commodification of
      human relations (chap 6 83) flattening of
      subjectivity and waning of affect.
Example: Modern Times (2:49 workers as a screw
   in the assembly line) ; The Bicycle Thief
   (bicycle as the means of production)
Marx’s Critique of Capitalism (2)
2. ―immiseration thesis‖ -- exploitation and
     alienation of laborers, reification

Note: Saunders argues that capitalism actually
   increases human wealth (of the poor and the
   rich alike) and improves human lives
 What do you think?
Marx’s Solution
3. Marx’s argument: State-owned properties 
(example: State Capitalism -- clip 13:00)
 Pension funds or share-holding is not enough;
    State-owned capital; possible problem, the
    State’s inefficiency;
 Commune (regional economy, self-sufficiency)
Marx’s Critique of Capitalism (3)
3. fetishism
   The charming and enigmatic nature of commodity
Use value  Exchange values added to it;
 ―abstract‖ relations between the products 
    relations between men
 Commodities as system of signs, hiding
  the economic relations in the production
Critique of Capitalism (4) –by
Western Marxism
Herbert Marcuse – capitalism creates our false
    needs, whereas our ―real needs‖ are
    ―repressively desublimated‖ in a one-
    dimensional world of commodities. (Cf.
    Saunders 79)
Ardorno: creates ―massified‖ pseudo-identity
e.g. The Icicle Thief (ending: a world of
     commodities, satisfying endless desires)
Social Structure:
Base and Superstructure
 Base-- ―The sum total of [the] relations of
  production constitutes the economic structure of
  society, the real foundation‖ (ref. 83)
 Superstructure--a legal and political
  superstructure, cultural institutions and forms of
  social consciousness. (ref. 84)
 Relations between --
The mode of production of material life conditions
  the social, political and intellectual life process in
Social Structure:
Base and Superstructure (2)
 Other ways to describe their relations:
 reflect, determine ultimately, cause,
    condition,sets the limit

    e.g. Vulgar Marxism’s reflectionism (ref. 81.
    84)-- (presupposes a homology in social
Social Structure:
Base and Superstructure (3)

             Superstructure                  Parallel,

 Ideology: the ruling ideas of the ruling class;
  imposed on the other classes.

    Base as foundation, center
  Althusser’s idea of
  social formation; de-centered
 Relative autonomy of the social levels and ultimate
  determination by the base Can literature change society?


Summary --and Examples?
   Key words:
      Materialist View of Our Existence:
       –   Economic determinism – Mode, Means and Relations of ―Production‖
       –   Alienation, Reification
       –   Modes of Consumption (Conspicuous, Fetishist)
       –   Class or different ways of grouping
      Dialectical Materialism – Class Struggle
      Capitalist Society
       – Mechanical Production  emphasis on surplus value and exchange
        value (but not use value) One example (7-11 Always Open)
       – Industrial, Monopolist, Multinational
Next Time
 Reader: chap 5 pp. 86-92; chap 6 to p. 81-89
 The Great Gatsby excerpts (on Gatsby’s views
  of Daisy) (plot summary here:   )
 Sauders, Peter. Capitalism: A Social Audit.
  Buckingham: Open UP, 1995.
 Scase, Richard. Class. Buckingham: Open
  UP, 1992.
 賴祥蔚. 〈情人的政治經濟學〉中國
  時報       92/02/14.

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