Regional Differences in the Treatment of Karl Marx by the Founders of American Academic Sociology
Wallace, Richard A.
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Karl Marx has long been perceived as one of the individuals who helped to create and develop the field we now call sociology. Many studies have attempted to show his prevalence over time, but have done so deficiently. The current study is a qualitative content analysis of the manuscripts written by William G. Sumner, Lester F. Ward, Franklin H. Giddings, Albion W. Small, Charles H. Cooley and Edward A. Ross. These individuals are generally considered to be the founders of American academic sociology. Their writings can tell a great deal about the development of Marxian sociology in the United States. The present study supports the theory that those founders working at universities in the Midwest were more likely to discuss Marx than the founders from the East Coast because those in the Midwest were at institutions which were more progressive. The project is based on a thorough analysis of the manuscripts written by the six founders in the time frame of 1883-1915 (the first era of American academic sociology). As shown in the study, Karl Marx was not entirely ignored by the founders, but many other writers were more influential. Many discussions about Karl Marx were based upon the manuscripts written by he and Engels, The Communist Manifesto and Das Kapital. The founders often addressed Marx's concepts which related to his discussions of class, surplus value, capital, capitalism, historical materialism, class consciousness, and property.
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