Marxism and Feminism in the Health Sector

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The term ‘Marxism’ is derived from the name of the philosopher, economist and sociologist, Karl Marx (1818-1883); and refers to the political praxis and social theory based on upon his writings. Simply stated Marxism, also known as Conflict Theory, is based on the premise that within capitalist societies the social structure is comprised of the bourgeoisie (upper-capitalist class) and the proletariats (lower-working class). The theory follows the conflicting ideologies between the two classes, analyses the class struggle, and ultimately serves as a critique towards capitalism. Marxists share the belief that the proletariat, is under the oppressive rule of the bourgeoisie and recognises that this ‘ruling’ is determined by economic stature. (Hungerford, 30) Karl Marx is quoted as saying “Sell a man a fish, he eats for a day, teach a man how to fish, you ruin a wonderful business opportunity” a statement heavily supporting the notion of proletariat oppression. Marx developed these terms to support his advocacy of socialism, and ultimately communism. The idea being that this social form would enable the proletariats, the working classes, to be the beneficiary of their ‘fruits of labour’. Marx believed that the social and class divide would be eradicated by establishing a ‘universal class’. According to Marx, the proletariat constitutes this ‘universal class’, a class whose needs are common to that of general society, the majority. Marx and Engel, another of the major theorists involved in Marxism (1820-1895), both claim that the ‘emancipation of such a universal class will in turn result in the universal liberation from exploitation, oppression and domination. (Lorente, Renzo, 536) However socialism has been criticised, the shared op... ... middle of paper ... ...eminism is a broad. Feminism perceives progress as being achieved with gender equality. Thought they differ in this regard, the end result and the ideal are the same, to achieve equality trough “erasing hierarchal structures in which one group dominates another”.(Watson, 1990) In Marxism this is the proletariats and the bourgeoisie, whereas feminism deals exclusively with the eradication of the divide between men and women. The two theories have come about with an existing struggle in society, and the base that is two opposites becoming equal. It is with these similarities, that the idea or theory of Marxist-feminism was produced. Combining the aspects of Marxism concerned with the economic and political divide and adding women to the equation. In combining the two it becomes easier to apply the perspective to situations, and perhaps better them in their equality.

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