Conversations with Marxists

Course content

This course provides a sampling of selected Marxists and post-Marxists. It will use selected texts, mainly but not exclusively, that deal with work, workers and worker movements to introduce these Marxists.  The goal is to gain a sense of the important and wide-ranging contributions provided by Marxist thought, especially in understanding labor, labor movements and capitalist society more generally.  A second goal is to help students gain an understanding of the diversity of Marxian approaches and the debates that emerged among these different groups.  Finally, a third goal is to see the myriad of way in which Marxian thought has developed across time and place.

The conversations with Marxist format is a created explore conversations and debates between Marxists, and to put students in conversation with these Marxists theorists, who have shaped the theoretical landscape and much of our thinking on important sociological topics. The course is not comprehensive and will not provide students with a clear overview of the systematic development of Marxist thought on a particular idea, even a focus on work, workers and worker movements is too broad to accomplish such a task. Rather this course is designed as a Smörgåsbord of Marxist thinkers, concepts and debates with the goal of whetting your appetite for more. 


MA Theory and Methodology (MSc Curriculum 2015)

Course package:
Welfare, inequality and mobility

BA-Undergraduates from foreign countries (exchange students) can sign up for this course

Creditstudents must be at master level

Learning outcome


  • Students will become familiar with the work of several prominent Marxists figures in sociology, their main contributions and any controversies that arise from their works.

  • This course will provide students with an understanding of different types/approaches to Marxism. They will be able to identify several different approaches.

  • Students will explore and understand some of the long-standing debates among Marxist scholars, especially those focused on work, workers and working class movements.


  • Students will develop an understanding and appreciation for the diversity of work done as part of the Marxian tradition.

  • Students will be able to identify theoretical variations and discussing long-standing debates.

  • Students will sharpen their skills in reading, comprehension and engagement of theoretical materials.

  • Students will develop critical thinking through engaging debates and developing their own “conversations with Marxists”.


  • Students should be able to identify different schools of Marxism and associated thinkers.

  • Students should be able to identify some of the major concepts associated with Marxism.

  • Students should be able to outline some of the debates and disagreements between Marxist.

This class is a seminar not a lecture. Students are expected to come to class with outlines of the readings, along with questions and points for discussion. Students will have the opportunity to lead the discussion and interrogation of the text(s). The classroom discussion will require that students engage and contribute in class by working with others to reconstitute the debates, raising questions, bringing to life the debates and conversations.

  • Giddens, Anthony, and David Held, eds. Classes, power, and conflict: classical and contemporary debates. Univ of California Press, 1982.
  • Cohen, Gerald Allan. Karl Marx's theory of history: a defence. Oxford: Clarendon Press, 2000.
  • Tucker, Robert C., ed. "The Marx-Engels Reader." (1978).
    (However, if you choose, many of the pieces from Marx and early Marxists are online in collective commons).
  • Harvey, David. Seventeen contradictions and the end of capitalism. Oxford University Press (UK), 2014.
Continuous feedback during the course of the semester
7,5 ECTS
Type of assessment
Individual or group. A portfolio assignment is defined as a series of short assignments during the course that address one or more set questions and feedback is offered during the course. All of the assignments are submitted together for assessment at the end of the course. The portfolio assignments must be no longer than 10 pages. For group assignments, an extra 5 pages is added per additional student. Further details for this exam form can be found in the Curriculum and in the General Guide to Examinations at KUnet.
Marking scale
7-point grading scale
Censorship form
No external censorship
Criteria for exam assessment

Please see the learning outcome.

  • Category
  • Hours
  • Lectures
  • 28
  • Course Preparation
  • 92
  • Preparation
  • 40
  • Exam Preparation
  • 46
  • English
  • 206