Contradiction and Conflict in Marxism

The theory of Marxism stands as a crucial departure from the tenets of functionalism. Emerging prominently in the 1970s, it gained traction amidst the decline of functionalism, promising answers that its counterpart could not furnish. Named after the German philosopher Karl Marx (1818-1883), the theory stems from the collaborative efforts of Marx and Friedrich Engels. This essay delves into the narrative of one of Marxism's core assumptions: Contradiction and Conflict.

Contradiction and Conflict

Marxism's bedrock lies in Economics. It commences with the recognition that human survival hinges on the production of food and material possessions.

The process of production involves social beings forming relationships, irrespective of a society's size, modernization, or state. Be it an industrialized powerhouse or a small hunting village, successful production remains a communal endeavor. Vital to this success are the forces of production—technology, scientific knowledge, and raw materials employed in production.

Each significant progression in the forces of production aligns with distinct social relationships of production.

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For instance, the forces of production in a hunting/gathering society correspond to a specific set of social relationships. When combined, these forces and relationships constitute the economic foundation or infrastructure of society. The superstructure, encompassing political, educational, legal institutions, as well as ethical and belief systems, is a byproduct of the infrastructure. In essence, economic factors predominantly determine the superstructure. Consequently, a shift in the infrastructure triggers a corresponding change in the superstructure.

Karl Marx posits another assumption that, barring prehistoric societies, all historical societies harbor inherent contradictions, rendering their perpetual existence impossible in their current form.

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These contradictions manifest as the exploitation of one group by another, creating a fundamental conflict of interest. In the context of capitalism, the bourgeoisie exploits the proletariat. In feudal societies, lords exploit serfs. The crux lies in this conflict of interest, demanding resolution for the survival of a society laden with such contradictions.

Marxist ideology, rooted in the belief that societal changes emanate from economic transformations, underscores the interplay between forces of production and social relationships. The dynamic nature of this interplay forms the basis of Contradiction and Conflict. In essence, the economic infrastructure breeds contradictions, leading to conflicts that necessitate resolution for societal evolution.

Through the lens of Marxist thought, societies navigate a constant flux, propelled by the inherent contradictions that spur conflict and demand resolution. The exploitation intrinsic to social structures sets the stage for a perpetual struggle between classes. The bourgeoisie and proletariat, in their economic entanglement, embody the very contradictions that drive societal evolution.

In conclusion, Contradiction and Conflict, as postulated by Marxism, intricately weave into the fabric of societal dynamics. The forces of production and social relationships form an inseparable duo, instigating contradictions that propel societies towards conflict and transformation. As we traverse the landscape of Marxist theory, the odyssey of Contradiction and Conflict unfolds, revealing the ever-changing realm of societal structures.

Updated: Dec 29, 2023
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Contradiction and Conflict in Marxism. (2016, Sep 13). Retrieved from

Contradiction and Conflict in Marxism essay
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