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Rowman & Littlefield Publishers, Inc.
Crisis and Change Today: Basic Questions of Marxist Sociology / Edition 2

Crisis and Change Today: Basic Questions of Marxist Sociology / Edition 2

by Peter Knapp, Alan SpectorPeter Knapp
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Crisis and Change Today provides a solid introduction to Marxist social theory. The work's unique voice is expressed in its Socratic-dialogic approach, structured around forty questions that students have about society and social change. Topics range from theories of history, economics, unemployment, racial oppression, the state, fascism, the collapse of the Soviet bloc, and points of convergence and difference between the dialectical approach and other approaches to social science. The content and tone of the work invites students to evaluate various traditional and current explanations of social institutions and social processes and encourages them to weigh the debates and investigate further.

The first edition was very well received (Distinguished Scholarship Award of the Section on Marxist Sociology of the ASA), and the second edition has been thoroughly revised and updated to be relevant for students today. Though the first edition was written during the wake of the fall of the Berlin Wall and the collapse of the Soviet Union, the growing gap between the rich and the poor and the economic crisis have generated more interest in using Marxist analysis both as a tool to analyze and understand capitalism and the weaknesses of past Marxist praxis.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780742520448
Publisher: Rowman & Littlefield Publishers, Inc.
Publication date: 01/16/2011
Edition description: Second Edition
Pages: 387
Product dimensions: 5.90(w) x 8.90(h) x 0.70(d)
Age Range: 18 Years

About the Author

Peter Knapp is professor of sociology at Villanova University.
Alan Spector is professor of sociology at Purdue University Calumet.

Table of Contents

List of Figures and Tables
Preface to the Second Edition
Chapter 1: Base and Superstructure: Marx's Theory of History
Introduction: Sociology confronts History—Class as the Basis of Social Structure and the Backbone of History
Section 1.1: Is There a Logic to History? If So, What Is It?
Section 1.2: What Is the Basis of Social Structure?
Section 1.3: Have States Always Existed?
Section 1.4: Have Classes Always Existed?
Section 1.5: What Is Feudalism? What Is Liberalism?
Section 1.6: What Causes Social Movements and Social Change?
Section 1.7: Are Events Inevitable? Was the French Revolution Inevitable?
Section 1.8: What Are the Dynamics of the Modern World?
Section 1.9: What Are the Fundamental Problems of the Modern World?
Section 1.10: Are Classes in the United States Based on Exploitation?
Summary and Conclusion: History, Historical Sociology, and Comparative History
Chapter 2: Surplus Value: Marx's Economics
Introduction: Marxist Economics and the Science of Social Change
Section 2. 1: What Is a Commodity? What Is the Labor Theory of Value?
Section 2.2: What Is Surplus Value?
Section 2.3: What Is Overproduction? How Can There Be Too Much Food, Housing, or Health Care?
Section 2.4: What Are the Dynamics of Production for Profit?
Section 2.5: Why Is There Unemployment?
Section 2.6: Who Benefits from Racism and Sexism?
Section 2.7: How Much Misery Is There in the United States?
Section 2.8: Is the United States a Land of Exceptional Mobility? Does It Matter?
Section 2.9: Why Are There Economic Depressions?
Section 2. 10: Why Has the U.S. Been "Number 1?"
Summary and Conclusions: Economics and Political Economy
Chapter 3: Class Struggle: Class, Party, and Political Theory
Introduction: Economic Determinism Versus Political Processes and Ideas—A False Debate
Section 3.1: What Is the Basis of a Truly Free Society?
Section 3.2: What Are Capitalists' Political Resources Under Capitalism?
Section 3.3: What Are the Crucial Political Changes in the World Today?
Section 3.4: How Does Capitalist Politics Change?
Section 3.5 What Is Fascism?
Section. 3.6: What Determines Different Degrees of Destructiveness of Fascism?
Section 3.7: What Is a "Dictatorship of the Proletariat"?
Section 3.8: What Are the Main Varieties of Marxism?
Section 3.9: Why Did Socialism Collapse in the USSR and China?
Section 3. 10: What Does the Collapse of Socialist World Powers Mean for Change?
Summary and Conclusion: Marxist Political Theory
Chapter 4: Applying Dialectics: Some Issues in the Philosophy of Science
Introduction: Dialectics—A Way of Looking at the World, or the Way the World Works?
Section 4.1: Is a Science of Society Possible?
Section 4.2: What Are the Main Sources of Error in Social Theory?
Section 4.3: Are Attempts at Neutrality a Guarantee of Objectivity?
Section 4.4: Crisis and Change
Section 4.5: Can Social Science Be Value-Neutral? Should It Be?
Section 4.6: Is Society Based on the Thoughts of Its Members?
Section 4.7: What Are Ideologies?
Section 4.8: What Contradictions Exist in Society?
Section 4.9: Can One Find Laws of Change in History?
Section 4.10: What Possibilities Are Open to Human Society?
Summary and Conclusions: Contradictions, Dialects, and Science
About the Authors

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