Definition of Marxism
(noun) The economic and political theories expounded by Karl Marx and Friedrich Engels that argue there is a struggle between the working class (proletariat) and the owners of the means of production (bourgeoisie), that struggle is needed for historical change and will lead to capitalism being replaced by communism.
- American English – /mAHRk-siz-uhm/
- British English – /mAHk-si-zuhm/
International Phonetic Alphabet
- American English – /ˈmɑrkˌsɪzəm/
- British English – /ˈmɑːksɪz(ə)m/
- Plural: Marxisms
- A (noun) Marxist advocates for Marxism.
- “What are social classes in Marxist theory? They are groups of social agents, of men defined principally but not exclusively by their place in the production process, i.e. by their place in the economic sphere. The economic place of the social agents has a principal role in determining social classes. But from that we cannot conclude that this economic place is sufficient to determine social classes. Marxism states that the economic does indeed have the determinant role in a mode of production or a social formation; but the political and the ideological (the superstructure) also have an important role. For whenever Marx, Engels, Lenin and Mao analyse social classes, far from limiting themselves to the economic criteria alone, they make explicit reference to political and ideological criteria. We can thus say that a social class is defined by its place in the ensemble of social practices, i.e. by its place in the ensemble of the division of labour which includes political and ideological relations. This place corresponds to the structural determination of classes, i.e. the manner in which determination by the structure (relations of production, politico-ideological domination/subordination) operates on class practices – for classes have existence only in the class struggle” (Poulantzas 1973:27).
- Word origin of “Marxism” – Online Etymology Dictionary: etymonline.com
- D’Amato, Paul. 2014. The Meaning of Marxism. Rev. ed. Chicago: Haymarket.
- Heilbroner, Robert L. 1980. Marxism: For and Against. New York: Norton.
- Kołakowski, Leszek, and P. S. Falla. 2005. Main Currents of Marxism: The Founders, The Golden Age, The Breakdown. New York: Norton.
- Marx, Karl, and Friedrich Engels. The Communist Manifesto.
- Marx, Karl, and Friedrich Engels. Das Kapital: A Critique of Political Economy.
- Sowell, Thomas. 1985. Marxism: Philosophy and Economics. New York: Morrow.
Poulantzas, Nicos. 1973. “On Social Classes.” New Left Review 78.
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Stewart, Paul, and Johan Zaaiman, eds. 2015. Sociology: A Concise South African Introduction. Cape Town: Juta.
Thorpe, Christopher, Chris Yuill, Mitchell Hobbs, Sarah Tomley, and Marcus Weeks. 2015. The Sociology Book: Big Ideas Simply Explained. London: Dorling Kindersley.
Cite the Definition of Marxism
ASA – American Sociological Association (5th edition)
Bell, Kenton, ed. 2013. “Marxism.” In Open Education Sociology Dictionary. Retrieved June 5, 2023 (https://sociologydictionary.org/marxism/).
APA – American Psychological Association (6th edition)
Marxism. (2013). In K. Bell (Ed.), Open education sociology dictionary. Retrieved from https://sociologydictionary.org/marxism/
Chicago/Turabian: Author-Date – Chicago Manual of Style (16th edition)
Bell, Kenton, ed. 2013. “Marxism.” In Open Education Sociology Dictionary. Accessed June 5, 2023. https://sociologydictionary.org/marxism/.
MLA – Modern Language Association (7th edition)
“Marxism.” Open Education Sociology Dictionary. Ed. Kenton Bell. 2013. Web. 5 Jun. 2023. <https://sociologydictionary.org/marxism/>.