CAN WE CONSIDER KARL MARX A SOCIOLOGIST?
“The history of all hitherto existing society is the history of class struggles.” (Marx and Engels 2002: 219)
I am beginning with the famous quote from The Communist Manifesto by Karl Marx and Friedrich Engels to frame a question to myself about Marx’s theoretical importance and its practical implication. I had my first encounter with Marx when I was in the 11th standard of my formal education. Since then the ghost of Marx has been impelling me to follow him (in one way or the other). I try to look at him, listen to him and learn from him but his immaterial body tells me less about the material aspects. I see through him but I cannot concretize him. May be that’s why I have always understood Marx partially. Another year with Marx has just begun with a question posed to us in class: why is Marx so popular in all social sciences (including Sociology)? Why has Marxism been such an important subject for all the social scientists to study? Can he be called a sociologist? My effort of writing this paper is an attempt of finding answers to these questions (more for myself). Sociology is all about a scientific study of society and social relationships. It studies about social institutions, social changes and their impacts in a society, more specifically how it affects the social relationship. The Penguin Dictionary of Sociology defines the term as “the analysis of the structure of social relationships as constituted by social interaction” (Abercrombie, Hill and Turner 2006: 367). To know if we can call Marx’s theory a sociological theory depends on whether his theory contains sociological features (some of which are also mentioned above). It is very easy to say it does because other social scientists have said so. What is hard is to correlate it ourselves after reading his works carefully. Marx’s theory is mainly about historical materialism, capitalism, generation of surplus value, inequality, class formation (bourgeoisie and proletariat), class-consciousness, and social change due to conflict (dialectic materialism), etc. By doing this, he is talking about a relationship between an economy and a society along with its impact on social relationship. “Sociology,” as Anthony Giddens says, “is the scientific study of groups, whole societies and the human world as such. It is a dazzling and compelling enterprise, as its subject-matter is our own behavior as social beings. The scope of sociology is extremely wide, ranging from the analysis of passing encounters between individuals on the street to the investigation of international relations and global forms of terrorism” (2009: 6). Sociology links an individual with all the other aspects in a...