The works of Karl Marx and Emile Durkheim have proved that they were indeed the finding fathers of modern social theory during the late 19th to the early 20th century. Along with others (i.e. Weber, Simmel, Veblen etc.) they had laid down the foundations of our understanding of the relationships that are held between culture and society on one hand, and economic activity on the other hand. Marx saw economics in terms of conflicts between different interest groups, which he referred to as ‘classes’, over rights to various facets of the processes of production, and the effect that those conflicts had on determining other areas of culture. Durkheim for his part, was more interested in the division of labour, classifications organised around social distinctions and how economic activity might be understood in terms of various forms of social solidarity.
Karl Marx’s significance
Karl Marx lived from 1818 – 1883, during which he wrote on history, philosophy, politics and economics. His work is usually recognised through his several publications, including The Communist Manifesto (1848) and Das Kapital (Capital) (1867-1894). Marx’s work in economics laid the foundation for the recent understanding of labour and its relations to capitalist system, and previous economists and academics (Schumpeter, 1952; Hicks, 1974) believe that his work has influenced much of the consequent economic thought, as well as more recent academics (Unger, 2007). Marx’s theories about society, politics as well as economics encourage the notion that human societies progress through a conflict between an ownership of class that controls production and a dispossessed...
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Durkheim, E., (1984). The Division of Labour in Society. NY: The Free Press.
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Hicks, J., (1974), The Crisis in Keynesian Politics. Oxford: Basil Blackwell.
Hann, C., & Hart, K., (2011), Economic Anthropology. Polity Press.
Marx, K., (1948), The Communist Manifesto. NY: Norton & Co. Marx, K., (1867), Capital: The Process of Capitalist Production. Moscow: Progress Publishers.
Schumpeter, J.A., (1952), Reviews in Economic Theory. J.C.B. Mohr/Paul Siebeck: Tubingen.
Smith, A., (1776), An Inquiry into the Nature and Causes of the Wealth of Nations. Edinburgh: Thomas Nelson
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Unger, R.M., (2007), The Self Awakened: Pragmatism Unbound. Harvard College.
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