Karl Marx Biographical Sketch

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Karl Marx was born on May 5, 1818 around the German Rhineland. According to Kunkel (2017), Marx was raised in a Jewish house, but his family later converted to Christianity so that Marx’s father could continue with his law profession in Prussia. Early on, Marx dreamt of becoming a professor. He attended the University of Berlin and after graduating attempted to get a teaching position, but was disappointed that after submitting a dissertation on the materialistic philosophy of Epicurus he did not receive a job offer (Kunkel, 2017). He then pursued a job as a journalist and editor writing for multiple different papers throughout the years, including the New York Daily Tribune. Some of Karl Marx’s more prominent contributions to the field of sociology include: the conflict theory, Marxism, and the idea of class consciousness.

This perspective is a macro-level approach most identified with the writings of German philosopher and sociologist Karl Marx, who saw society as being made up of individuals in different social classes who must compete for social, material, and political resources such as food and housing, employment, education, and leisure time.

In more simple terms, all of society is in a competition for limited resources. The individuals who are able to obtain and maintain these resources, they are expected to keep the social institutions in place as they are. Sort of stick to the status quo. Marx believed that only the wealthy were truly benefitting from this approach.

Even if one does not study sociology, there’s a chance that they have heard of Marxism at one point or another. Marxism involves capitalism and the idea of struggling classes. Marx declared at the beginning of the Communist Manifesto “the history of all hitherto existing society is the history of class struggles”, this is pointing out that classes are the core of his analysis (Collins & Makowsky, 2010, p. 30). As stated by Arendt (2002), Marx was often praised and blamed for things that had nothing to do with him; one example being that for decades, people thought he was the “inventor of class struggles”. He would be either highly esteemed or highly resented, even though he was completely innocent. Even to this day, Marxism is still very much alive and relevant around the world and will be for years to come.

Another area in the realm of sociology that Marx contributed to is the idea of class consciousness. Marx really just wanted to give an idea of how classes are produced. As presented by our textbook, “People do not have an objective view of the world; they see it from the restricted point of view of their own positions” (Collins & Makowsky, 2010, p. 31). This is one aspect that most everyone would be able to agree with. With the exception of some, everyone is only worried about themselves. People do not consider how one thing will effect another person. The minds and perspectives of all of us are blinded, we truly cannot see outside of our position.

Karl Marx’s life can be split up into three distinct sections. “His sociology, built around the analysis of class consciousness and class conflict; his economics, which develops the internal contradictions of capitalism; and his social and political philosophy, built around the notion of alienation and its solution in communism” (Collins & Makowsky, 2010, p. 30). These three parts are not all equal, some sections more accurate than others and some are more flawed than the rest. But even if you don’t agree with everything Marx has to offer, there is still a lot to be learned from his theories and assumptions.

Cite this paper

Karl Marx Biographical Sketch. (2021, Apr 15). Retrieved from https://samploon.com/karl-marx-biographical-sketch/

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