Sociology 250

Fall 1999

First Short Paper (10 points)

Due: October 5, 1999

Choose one of the following topics and write a short paper on this topic. The paper should clearly explain and discuss the topic chosen. If appropriate, you may want to include a short critique of the views and approaches you are disc ussing.

The paper should be no longer than three typewritten double-spaced pages. In a paper of this length there should be very few quotes. Do not rely on quotes to make the arguments for you, and explain the concepts and ideas in your own words. Where you do use quotes or references, these should be properly cited. If you use only the sources listed on the class outline or below, these may be cited like (Hadden, p. 47) or (Wallace and Wolf, pp. 34-35). If you use other sources, complete citations should be p rovided in footnotes or at the end of the paper. Provide a bibliography of the sources you have used.

Avoid using "man" and "he" in the generic sense, except where they are part of a direct quote. Otherwise, if you use "man" or "he" I will assume you are referring to males only.


  1. Hadden (p. 62) notes that for Marx exchange-value represents a social relationship even though it seems that "exchange-value might be a natural property of the commodity". Explain.
  2. Marx's approach to social analyis is often considered to be a historical materialist approach. Explain what this means.
  3. "Marx believed that people in our kind of society are also controlled by their products." (Hadden, p. 63). Explain and provide some examples from contemporary society.
  4. How is surplus value created and how does it expand in Marx's model of capitalism?
  5. Explain the main aspects of Marx's view of alienation, briefly commenting on the sources of alienation and some of the consequences of alienation.
  6. Identify the various social classes in the Marxian analysis of capitalism. Briefly describe how each of the major social classes forms part of the structure of capitalist society and changes in that structure.
  7. Explain and critique the analysis of the family developed by Marx and Engels.
  8. Marx and Weber each discussed class. Write an essay outlining the main similarities and differences in the Marxian and Weberian views of class.

In addition to the books listed on the class outline, the following references may be useful. There are many other books on Marx and Marxism in the HB97.5 and HX 39.5 section of the Library.

Avineri, S., The Social and Political Thought of Karl Marx. HX 39.5 A853

Farganis, J., Readings in Social Theory the Classical Tradition to Postmodernism HM24 R37

Giddens, A., Capitalism and Modern Social Theory. HM19 G53

Giddens, A., The Class Structure of Advanced Capitalist Societies. HT 609 G47

Giddens, A. and D. Held, Classes, Power, and Conflict: Classical and Contemporary Debates HT675 C55

Grabb, E. G., Theories of Social Inequality. HT 609 G72

Hunter, A., Class Tells HN110 Z9 S63

Mandel, E., Introduction to Marxist Economic Theory. HB 97.5 M26513

Mandel, E., The Formation of the Economic Thought of Karl Marx. HB 97.5 M2613

Ritzer, G., Sociological Theory. HM24 R4938

Sydie, R., Natural Women Cultured Men: A Feminist Perspective on Sociological Theory HM51 S97

Tong, R., Feminist Thought: A Comprehensive Introduction. HQ 1206 T65

Zeitlin, I. M., Ideology and the Development of Sociological Theory HM19 Z4

Last edited on September 17, 1999

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