Historical Materialism Sociology YouTube Lecture Handouts

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Hegel՚s Theory

  • Ideal Dialectism
  • Idea supreme
  • Matter is sub-servient
  • World is an extension of ideas
  • With ideas, the world also changes
  • Change of idea?
  • Contradictions in idea
  • Ideas are not perfect
  • Eg software updates
  • New ideas generated
  • Thesis ⚹ anti-thesis = synthesis
  • Thesis – idea
  • Anti – thesis – contradiction
  • Synthesis – new idea or outcome
  • Theory of Ideal Dialectism

Dialectical Materialism

  • Matter is supreme
  • Idea is sub-servient
  • Matter = Economy
  • Matter changes , world changes

Historical Materialism

  • Economic interpretation
  • Matter runs the world
  • European history
  • First activity by man was an economic activity
  • To curb hunger, man must have taken food from nature
  • So, production was the first act.
  • First historical act – production
  • ‘In order to survive, man must produce.’
  • Relation with each other to produce
  • Forces of production – skills, tools, etc.
  • Relations of production: stratification – haves and have nots
  • Relation between man and things: ownership and non-ownership

Stages of European History

  • Primitive communism: Classless society, food gatherers, group affair, production, no surplus produce
  • Ancient mode of production: Surplus produce – hunting stage – conflict – control and possession – first unequal society Master and Slave relation
  • Feudalism: Lords and Serfs – slavery to agriculture -- control
  • Capitalism or Industrialist: factories emerged – profit – mass production – cash nexus – complex DoL – exploitation


  • “Dictatorship of Proletariat”
  • Just society
  • Abolishment of private property


  • Workers will renounce power
  • All enlightened and free
  • End of exploitation
  • End of history


Q. 1. In historical materialism, what stage of society does capitalism eventually evolve into?

a) Feudalism

b) Tribalism

c) Communism

d) Slavery

Answer: c

Q. 2. According to Marx,

a) Economy is the central force of history and social changes.

b) Idea is the central force of history and social changes.

c) Idea is supreme and matter is subservient to it

d) None of the above

Answer: a