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Contribution of Karl Marx to Conflict Perspective and Theory of Alienation

Although Karl Marx died long ago, his works are much alive today and in fact constitutes the main body of conceptual and theoretical work within conflict perspective.

Although Karl Marx died long ago, his works are much alive today and in fact constitutes the main body of conceptual and theoretical work within conflict perspective. His thought has had immense influence in shaping practical policies. Marxism is still a practical body of thought and doctrine. A substantial part of his body of thought provides sociologists with a systematic and rigorous way of analyzing society and forms the core of the conflict perspective.

In treating alienation Marx’s key concept is fetishism. By fetishism he suggests that men somehow come to dissociate themselves from their own products whether these are material things or ideas. Somehow these man-made things and ideas obtain a life of their own become more important than their inventor man and end up dominating him.

Such objects are thus set apart from man, they are alien to him and come to dominate him. Examples of such objects in the realm of ideas are the laws of supply and demand which impersonally determine what should be produced, how many should be employed etc.Such laws are not seen to be the products of man’s own thinking but are regarded as the truth which is out there, permanent and inviolable.

In short Marx argues that men are alienated from one another; they are alienated from their products, material and ideal.They are also alienated from their society. Though for Marx, alienation exists in all societies which have private property of the means of production, he argued that only in capitalist society had it reached its fullest, most  crippling development

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