Marxism theory and criticism stems from the nineteenth century German philosopher and economist, Karl Marx, his focuses are on the differences in social class, class formation, class consciousness, and class tensions. Marx’s theory of “modes of production” is divided into seven successive stages of societies―tribal hordes, Neolithic kinship, oriental despotism, ancient slaveholding, feudalism, capitalism, and communism. It is believed that capitalism will evolve into communism.
Marx believes class conflict within a specific mode of production follows a pattern. The capitalist or bourgeoisie mode has been characterized mainly by the conflict between the industrial working class, the proletariat, and the owners of the means of production, the bourgeoisie. Other classes including the unemployed, criminal, and dwindling aristocracy, the lumpenproletariat, watch from the sidelines. Marx predicts―international labor and the communist mode of production will overcome and become the dominant form due to the capitalistic conflicts between the proletariat and the bourgeoisie classes.
Members of the working class who subscribe to bourgeoisie ideas and values exhibit “false consciousness,” since such values ignore the socioeconomic realities of their own lives. Hegemony designates the continuous ideological domination of all classes by the ruling bloc or government through nonviolent and consensus building institutions, such as churches, schools, families, mediums, arts, trade unions, and business interests. Those institutions are what the Marxist theorist, Louis Althusser, refers to as “Ideological State Apparatuses.” They manage instability and conflict to maintain social order.
According to Marxist theory, the socioeconomic elements of society constitute its foundation, while its cultural spheres―politics, laws, religions, philosophies, and arts―compose its superstructure, and is regulated by the ruling bloc or government. From a Marxist perspective, artistic works, performing, visual, and written, present fugitive, alternative, and counter-hegemonic points of view suggesting liberation possibilities. Therefore, Marxism believes to stabilize the country counterculture should be regulated by the ruling bloc, government.
Leitch, Vincent B., ed. The Norton Anthology of Theory and Criticism. 2nd ed. New York: W.W. Norton and Company, 2010.
1st. Theory and Criticism, by Julie Renee Phelan @ http://www.dantealighierithedivinecomedy.com/2012/06/theory-and-criticism-by-julie-renee.html
2nd. What is Interpretation? by Julie Renee Phelan @ http://www.dantealighierithedivinecomedy.com/2012/06/what-is-interpretation-by-julie-renee.html
3rd. What is Literature? by Julie Renee Phelan @ http://www.dantealighierithedivinecomedy.com/2012/06/what-is-literature.html
4th. Classical Theory and Criticism, by Julie Renee Phelan @ http://www.dantealighierithedivinecomedy.com/2012/06/classical-theory-and-criticism.html
5th. Medieval Theory and Criticism, by Julie Renee Phelan @ http://www.dantealighierithedivinecomedy.com/2012/06/medieval-theory-and-criticism-by-julie.html
6th. Renaissance and Neoclassicism Theory and Criticism, by Julie Renee Phelan @ http://www.dantealighierithedivinecomedy.com/2012/06/renaissance-and-neoclassical-theory-and.html
7th. Romanticism Theory and Criticism, by Julie Renee Phelan @ http://www.dantealighierithedivinecomedy.com/2012/06/romanticism-theory-and-criticism-by.html
8th. Marxism Theory and Criticism, by Julie Renee Phelan @ http://www.dantealighierithedivinecomedy.com/2012/06/marxism-theory-and-criticism-by-julie.html
9th. Psychoanalysis Theory and Criticism, by Julie Renee Phelan @ http://www.dantealighierithedivinecomedy.com/2012/06/psychoanalysis-theory-and-criticism-by.html
10th. Formalism Theory and Criticism, by Julie Renee Phelan @ http://www.dantealighierithedivinecomedy.com/2012/06/formalism-theory-and-criticism-by-julie.html
11th. Reader Response Theory and Criticism, by Julie Renee Phelan @ http://www.dantealighierithedivinecomedy.com/2012/06/reader-response-theory-and-criticism-by.html
12th. Structuralism and Semiotics Theory and Criticism, by Julie Renee Phelan @ http://www.dantealighierithedivinecomedy.com/2012/06/structuralism-and-semiotics-by-julie.html