Karl Marx and His Social Class Theory

What is Class?


Karl Marx developed a unique theory of social class. In these modern times, class distinctions have seemingly almost disappeared in our everyday social interactions. Some people no longer believe that a person’s class is relevant. Yet in some circumstances, comparative class studies are extremely useful to the social sciences.


These reasons could be: political or economic. It is sometimes necessary to see which underprivileged people are slipping through the net, to improve access to much needed health services, housing or educational programs. The Marxist perspective is in many ways concerned with: building a society from the bottom-up. This is often a popular political discussion, during times of economic crisis.

On meeting someone for the first time, most people would agree that after the initial introductions we usually ask what it is they do for a living. In the past, the men would work and the women stayed at home with the children. Now, more people need to work than in the past. There are no longer the working men’s clubs of yester-year. Class distinctions have become more subtle in the main.

Poor Living/Working Conditions

Marx lived in extremely difficult times and living conditions were poor for many people. This idea of class conflict should be viewed with sensitivity therefore. The industrial revolution had produced two main groups of people. They took the form of two distinct social classes.These were: the owners of the machinery and the people who worked for them.

There were no rules to protect the majority of workers. People were trying to campaign for political representation on a number of basic, survival issues in an attempt to improve their living and working conditions. If the theory seems at all fanatical, it is due to this very real struggle during this historical period which many people faced.

Opposing Classes

For Marx, the two classes he identified had opposing interests. Tthey were in effect at war with each other. From a historical perspective, people would certainly have felt like they were fighting for survival in some cases.We become conscious of a class to which we belong, when we identify with the people within it. This comes about through shared interests and motivations.

Who Owns The Machines?

Marxists believe that class is manifested, by how production is organized within a specific society. It is not so much the choices a person makes which defines their future. Rather it is the options available to them within the restrains imposed by the society they inhabit, which decides the fate of the individual.

Problems for Civilization

Comments 4 comments

Charlotte B Plum profile image

Charlotte B Plum 5 years ago

Interesting introduction to social theory! Indeed Marx forms part of the core diet of any sociology student, thank you for sharing this with us!

DAWNEMARS profile image

DAWNEMARS 5 years ago from The Edge of a Forest in Europe Author

What a lovely name (better than mine). Wow, lots of interesting hubs too! Thanks for the comments. I am new here but people seem so nice.

Cagsil profile image

Cagsil 4 years ago from USA or America

I can identify with this hub. I don't know Marx except for the little bit I learned about during my research of world history and religion. I find that social status is nothing more than ego trip for the individual. Socially, people should be more worried about the state of society and the state of world events than they are with their own living state. However, unfortunately that's not going to happen because people are made to listen to an external authority, instead of listening to themselves and owning up to the responsibility that is required for living in the world today.

I am completely appalled at the actions of many, but I have the compassion to understand that they don't know any better. Which is why I created Cagsil. The social structure built in America and many other Nations of the world are weakened. There's more power in a united Nation than in a divided one. A divided Nation gives the wrong people the power to control what happens in each person's life. Common ground must be found and a balance in life needs to be found. Thank you very much for your informative hub. Voted up! :)

DAWNEMARS profile image

DAWNEMARS 4 years ago from The Edge of a Forest in Europe Author

That is pretty strong stuff you say there. Thanks for speaking from the heart -I respect that. Yes, we all seem to be too busy(or something) to do anything about it. Perhaps now we built the structures, they have taken over. We forget what the idea was for building a better world in the first place.

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