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A2 Unit 1 - Power and Politics

7) Neo-Marxist perspective on power

Neo-Marxism is built upon the Marxist idea that the superstructure of the state determines who has the power. However, the neo-Marxists Gramsci said that the superstructure is divided into two distinct sections, the civil and political societies.

The political society is made up of institutions that rule by force such as the police and the army, whilst the civil society consists of institutions that rule by consent, like the church, trade unions and the mass media. Under Gramsci’s definition, the state branches much further in public life than other perspectives say. For example, by ‘using’ the church or the mass media, the political society can persuade and influence the working class into believing their ideas and morals. Because of this, the superstructure allows hegemony to form, whereby the ideology of the ruling class is completely dominant.

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A blog set up to help A Level students revise Sociology

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