Marxist Perspectives of Law in Capitalist Society: A Reflection of Contradiction, Inequality and Ideology?

13 Pages Posted: 4 May 2017

See all articles by Sigi Mwanzia

Sigi Mwanzia

Independent; Politics and International Studies

Date Written: April 2, 2017

Abstract

The position occupied by law in capitalist society is contested by different strands of jurisprudential thought. Marxist materialist theories relegate law to the ideological social superstructure and present law as an epiphenomenal and derivative tool harnessed for unequal, oppressive and ideological purposes. This paper shall examine Marx’s class-mired, material and dualist conception of the law through an assessment of central Marxist tenets, and the works of different writers within the Marxist tradition. The tenets examined include historical (dialectical) materialism in Marxist thought and the base-superstructure relationship to ascertain the autonomy or functionality of the law. The argument positing law as ideology shall then be explored to pave the way for an analysis of the consequences and contemporary difficulties posed by Marx’s theories. This paper shall culminate with an analysis of Marx’s solution in light of the ‘withering away’ of law claim.

Keywords: Law, Capitalist Society, Marxist, Ideological Superstructure, Tool, Class, Marxist tenets, Historical (dialectical) Materialism, Base-Superstructure, Autonomy, Functionality, Ideology, ‘Withering Away’.

Suggested Citation

Mwanzia, Sigi, Marxist Perspectives of Law in Capitalist Society: A Reflection of Contradiction, Inequality and Ideology? (April 2, 2017). Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2960611 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.2960611

Politics and International Studies ( email )

United Kingdom

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