Part of the SAGE Social Thinkers series, this brief and clearly–written book provides a concise introduction to the work, life, and influences of Karl Marx, one of the most revered, reviled, and misunderstood figures in modern history. The book serves as an excellent introduction to the full range of Marx’s major themes—alienation, economics, social class, capitalism, communism, materialism, environmental sustainability—and considers the extent to which they are relevant today. It is ideal for use as a self-contained volume or in conjunction with other sociological theory textbooks.
Marx spent the greater part of his adult life studying and writing about the economic aspects of capitalism from the unique perspective of a social scientist suspicious of the capitalist status quo. Marx’s mature work on economics, from the Grundrisse to Capital and many notebooks, spans 10 volumes in the Collected Works of Marx and Engels. Capital alone is three volumes comprising thousands of pages. Any chapter-length presentation of Marx’s economics will be incomplete. I hope this chapter can serve as an introduction to many of the categories of analysis of Marx that he refined from classical economics or developed anew. Most of the presentations in this chapter will concentrate on the first volume of Capital, where many of the commonly discussed Marxian ...