Karl Marx began his work as a social theorist contemplating the various riddles of modernity. He was able to unveil and bring light to ideas, as well as concepts that allowed and encouraged the citizens of the late nineteenth century to ration the contradictions hidden in the social worlds. Although a theory is always "drawn from" the experience itself, Marx was able to sympathize with the working class, therefore creating his own theory of estrangement. He correlates his theory of estrangement with the capitalistic movement that was developed in the European Diaspora; later moving west. He shows how the capitalistic structure is salient and can endure revolutions to maintain its goal in creating surplus value. Through his riddles, he assesses the separation between the bourgeoisie, the proletariat, and the hierarchy of industry.
[...] Mannheim, Niebuhr and Marx: Sociology of Knowledge and National Ethic Marx saw the unthinkable in modern society in the way in which the evolution of the capitalist society did not lead to better life for the masses. The modern revolution was supposed to end feudalism, but in reality only continued with the same oppression. The members of the ruling class were able to manipulate the masses into buying into their own belief systems. Marx says, ideas of the ruling class are in every epoch the ruling ideas: The class which is the ruling material force of society is at the same time its ruling intellectual force.” The ideas of the ruling class are ruling ideas of the epoch” (Marx, The German Ideology). [...]
[...] Niebuhr concedes that communication and education have lessened these problems to some extent, as knowledge of world affairs had been heightened through communication and education as well as the ability think rationally and justly, but says that “there is nevertheless little hope of arriving at a perceptible increase of international morality through the growth of intelligence and the perfection of means of communication” 244). He says that development of international commerce, the increased economic interdependence among the nations, and the whole apparatus of a technological civilization, increase the problems and issues between nations much more rapidly than the intelligence to solve them can be created” 244). [...]
[...] National one-sidedness and narrow-mindedness become more and more impossible and from the numerous national and local literatures, there arises world literature.” This melting of various cultures into a single, homogenized culture speaks to the age of mass media, where popular culture is produced in a similar fashion to a standardized commodity produced in a factory. In the 20th century the means of spreading such a mass culture improved tremendously, first with the rise of radio, television, mobile technology and the Internet. [...]
[...] In order for social institutions to be possible at all, they have to be reified by subjects capable of inhabiting and participating in them. The inculcation of a critical theory addressing this positioning and imprinting of the individual is a hopeful possibility, but one that even Gramsci notes will be difficult, full of contradictions, advances and retreats.”(261) Differences in 19th and 20th Century Social Structures In the 20th century Marxist thought needed to adapt. The social structures of the world were changing, and Marxist theory changed as well, adapting to new societal forces. [...]
[...] Outlooks do not have their origin in the minds of individuals. We have to look for the social origins of certain modes of thought in order to analyze and understand them more completely. So, sociology of knowledge seeks to comprehend thought in the concrete setting of an historical-social situation out of which individually differentiated thought only very gradually emerges” 214). In order to understand individual thought we have to understand it in its historical-social setting. For Mannheim, there are two separate meanings of the term ‘ideology'- the particular and the total. [...]
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