Understanding Marxist Historiography: An Overview Essay

744 Words 3 Pages
Understanding Marxist Historiography: An Overview

Wherever one stands on the ideological scale, it is hard to refute the influence Karl Marx, and his subsequent theories and doctrines, have had on the world at large. Some, like Vladimir Lenin, took Marx’s ideals and turned it into a political party and system of government, while others, like Mao Zedong, have simply used it as a basic foundation to further their own ideological and political ambitions. But in its truest essence, based on the writings and subsequent comments made by Marx and others, Marxism is a view of the world, offering both resources to scholars and laymen alike. To further understand Marxism Paul Blackledge states that “it would be a mistake to equate Marxism
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His ideas were a different way of viewing history, this time from the bottom up, seeing the agent of change in history from a perspective of relationships between people, and not as accidental.
The basic concepts of Historical Materialism were introduced by Marx in his A Contribution to the Critique of Political Economy. He believed that society should be classified based on the division of labor, creating social classes based on property ownership. He states that since division of labor is not equal there would be strife and conflict and that the only means of genuine social change is through social or political upheaval. Marx created “a theory based on economic forces, a grand jury which would not only explain all of history but also deliver the tools for eventual human redemptions from all injustice.” With these concepts now realized, both Marx and others contributed to the history of the working class using empirical class analysis, social arrangements, and economics to prove their theses.
Historical Materialism has a three part social structure: the productive forces, the relations of production, and the political and ideological superstructure. The theory offers an explanation as to why these three models are beneficial to each other and necessary to progress, known as a “functional explanation”. An example

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