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Marxism: Introduction. Basic Questions: . Is money (or the economic relations we are in) the most important determinant in our life? our achievements; our social relations; our ideas; literature and all the cultural products. . Marxism: Focuses.

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basic questions
Basic Questions:
  • Is money (or the economic relations we are in) the most important determinant in our life?
    • our achievements;
    • our social relations;
    • our ideas;
    • literature and all the cultural products.
marxism focuses
Marxism: Focuses
  • Dialectic Materialism -- Marx and Vulgar Marxism
  • Literature & Society: Marxist Views and Althusser’s theory of Ideology
  • Marxist Literary Critics: Jameson and Eagleton
  • Cultural Marxism (if time allows)
marx basic ideas
Marx: Basic Ideas
  • Critique of capitalism –Exploitation of laborers and Alienation of them from their productive process
  • (His Dialectic View of History: Revises Hegel’s view of history)
  • Dialectic Materialism
  • Social Structure: Base and Superstructure
social structure base and superstructure
Social Structure: Base and Superstructure
  • Base-- “The sum total of [the] relations of production constitutes the economic structure of society, the real foundation”
  • Superstructure--a legal and political superstructure, cultural institutions and forms of social consciousness.
  • Relations between --

The mode of production of material life conditions the social, political and intellectual life process in general.

marx s critique of capitalism
Marx’s Critique of Capitalism
  • Capitalism – caused by industrialism’s amplification of labor power with machines

surplus values accumulation and expansion of capitals

2. Consequences: exploitation and alienation of laborers, exchange values over use values; reification(物化) and commodification of human relations

3. Marx’s argument: State-owned properties (example: clips of The Greatest Thinker: Marx)

marx s critique of capitalism 2
Marx’s Critique of Capitalism (2)

Example 2: “Rocking Horse Winner”

I. Central questions:

  • Why does the family hear a voice? Why do toys here it, too? p. 296; 295
  • How is the rocking horse used as a means of production? (horse race) How is the boy, laborer of the family? (luck vs. lucre; work + mysticism)
  • What role does the family (mother, uncle, Bassette) play in the exploitation of the boy to death? (Bassette’s and the uncle’s partnership 208-209, the mother’s birthday gift p. 301)
marx s critique of capitalism 3
Marx’s Critique of Capitalism (3)

Example 2: “Rocking Horse Winner”

2. --Related issues:fetishism

–誰來問凱蒂貓是否也流了汗﹖

-- Commodities as system of signs. (e.g. “The Lesson”)

dialectic materialism marx s two major statements
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.
  • (In other words-- Consciousness does not determine life; life determines consciousness.)
marx two major statements 2
Marx: Two major Statements (2)
  • The philosophers have only interpreted the world in various way; the point is to change it.
social structure base and superstructure 2
Social Structure: Base and Superstructure (2)
  • Other ways to describe their relations:
  • reflect, determine ultimately, cause, condition,sets the limit

Vulgar Marxism’s reflectionism (presupposes a homology in social structure)

Example: The Bicycle Thief

social structure base and superstructure 3
Social Structure: Base and Superstructure (3)
  • Ideology: the ruling ideas of the ruling class; imposed on the other classes.
  • Superstructure

Parallel, reflect

Base as foundation, center

althusser s idea of social formation de centered
Althusser’s idea of social formation; de-centered
  • Relative autonomy of the social levels and ultimate determination by the base