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Class struggle

Kunal Chattopadhyay

Subject History, Philosophy
Social Movements » Collective Behaviour

Place World

Period 2000 - present
1000 - 1999 » 1700-1799, 1800-1899, 1900-1999

People Marx, Karl

Key-Topics labor, revolution, strikes

DOI: 10.1111/b.9781405184649.2009.00363.x


Class struggle is a concept in socialist analysis, developed in particular by Karl Marx . For Marx, class is closely connected with his concept of the relations of production, the social relations into which humans enter in the process of production, which find legal expression to a large degree either as property relations or as labor relations. In a class society, one dominant group controls the conditions of production, and the classes there are defined in terms of their relationship to the means and the labor of production and to each other. However, Marx's writings also suggest that fully formed classes exist only in what he called the great historical epochs – like slavery, feudalism, and capitalism in Europe. In the period between the decline of one mode of production and the full articulation of the next, what exists is called a transitional society. The class struggle in such a situation actually determines the nature of the next mode of production. Thus, in the period of transition from feudalism to capitalism, the relative powers of nobles, peasants, and bourgeoisie in different countries led to different results, such as agrarian capitalism in England, and the absolutist monarchy in France, to protect the interests of nobles under a changed balance of force, so that it defended the benefits of the late feudal nobility, but deprived the nobles of direct political power. ... log in or subscribe to read full text

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