Karl Marx & Critical Sociology— E. Hummer (Week 2)

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Karl Marx & Critical Sociology— E. Hummer (Week 2)

The framework of critical sociology came from a man named Karl Marx. Marx believed that sociology should be used to not just analyze society but to change it (Little 13). This is where the basis of critical sociology began, and within that something else called historical materialism— a “materialist conception of history” (Little 13). Historical materialism is one of the five paradigms of sociology, and it focuses on “the study of how our everyday lives are structured by the connections between relations of power and economic power” (Little 30). Marx developed an intriguing theory that if a society is put into a pyramid, the base of that pyramid will be the economy of that society; everything else, the culture, family, religion, will be determined by the society’s economic mode of production (Little 175). This concept can be readily apparent when analyzing the shift to capitalism in American society.

When society started shifting from feudalism to capitalism, the capitalist class, which had power in having private ownership of industrial property, became revolutionary in this radical change (Little 176). However, the development of capitalism “brought into existence the class of ‘free’ wage laborers” (Little 176). Capitalism in America really took off around the beginning of the 20th Century, a few decades after the Civil War (“A Short History of American Capitalism”).  What might not be obvious is that most of the people who came to be those “free” wage laborers were former slaves who had been freed from their indentured labor (Little 176). These workers were only now considered “free” because their labor was based on a contract, rather than being “bound to their masters” (Little 176). As Marx wrote, “this meant in effect that workers could sell their labor as a commodity to whomever they wanted, but if they did not sell their labor they would starve” (Little 176). So now, these “free” workers are constantly fighting to maintain a reasonable wage while still having to provide for their family. Additionally, the capitalists did not need to provide security or a place to live for their workers, as masters were forced to (Little 176). This whole system is an example of this societal pyramid with the economy being the foundation. This concept is mentioned by Hegel in the discussion of the Master and Slave dialect.

The entire point philosophers want to make when proclaiming critical sociology is that society can change and exploring history through this materialist approach can show why it needs to change. The work of Karl Marx is designed to show a “comprehensive explanation of the workings of the capitalist system – identifying exploitation, and therefore injustice, at its core” (McCabe).


Works Cited

“A Short History of American Capitalism: CAPITALISM DOMINANT, 1865-1920.”, 2021, Accessed 16 Jan. 2021.


‌Little, W. (2016). Introduction to Sociology: 2nd Canadian Edition. Retrieved from introductiontosociology2ndedition. Accessed 16 Jan. 2021.


McCabe, Eddie. “Karl Marx’s Theory of Class Struggle: The Working Class & Revolution.” Socialist Alternative, 6 May 2018, Accessed 16 Jan. 2021.







Second Feminist Wave – B. Cruz (Week 2)

Second Feminist Wave – B. Cruz (Week 2)

The second wave of feminism is a time in which women grew frustrated with lack of social justices and acted accordingly. This differs from the first wave initially inspired by the abolitionist movement in America because the ideologies of the first concerned legal equality while the second wave revolved around social and economic equality (Burkett). The second feminism wave took place approximately in the 1960s and 1970s. Succeeding the second wave also exist a third wave of feminism in which the aim is to include more women via intersectionality which was a large caveat of the previous waves of feminism.

The second feminist movement faced less unification due to the fundamental ideological differences – one being the radical, seeking to deconstruct patriarchal norms, and the other advocating for equal rights to men. However, some successes stemmed from the second wave movement including the famous Roe v. Wade decision which set the precedent to legalize abortion in the USA (Cornell Law). Outside of the societal changes sought, there were a number of economic shifts through workplace laws as well. One of which includes the Equal Employment Opportunity Laws which afforded more rights towards women regarding discrimination, and even granted reparations for those deemed in violation prior to the enactments of the laws.

The second wave did not spurn from pure chance or randomness. As women were seeing all around them a changing world through their own experiences such as World War II, and even more from the civil rights movement, many women began to feel as though they were doing all things necessary to be considered on the same plane as men, but not receiving recognition. The philosophy behind this thinking was unified by popular cultural landmarks such as “The Second Sex” in which “distress of women has gone on despite so much apparent change” (Felstiner 259). This resonated as women began to see the idea of men in society placing values on women and women applying those imposed values unto themselves to create the ‘Self’ and ‘Other’ dynamic described by de Beauvoir.



Works Cites

Burkett, Elinor. “Women’s rights movement.” Encyclopædia Britannica, Encyclopædia Britannica, Inc., 06 November 2020,


“Jane ROE, et al., Appellants, v. Henry WADE.” Cornell Law, 1973.


Felstiner, Mary Lowenthal. “Seeing ‘The Second Sex’ through the Second Wave.” Feminist Studies, vol. 6, no. 2, 1980, pp. 247–276. JSTOR, Accessed 12 Jan. 2021.