Date of Award
Master of Arts (MA)
W. Peter Archibald
For all intents and purposes the thesis presented here will be an examination of the implicit and explicit social psychology of Karl Marx. That Marx has a psychological content is obvious to even the most cursory reader (indeed, it has been argued by Louis Althusser, in a fit of structuralist pique, that it is exactly the cursory reading of Marx that "discovers" a psychological content). Precisely what this psychological content consists of is a contentious matter. Nonetheless, it is of the utmost importance that the issue of psychological content be confronted in order that social psychology finds its appropriate position in the sociological method suggested by Marx's historical materialism.¹ The desire to carry out this examination of Marx's psychological assumptions, and to demonstrate the social psychology most appropriate to the historical materialist approach to social history, is largely derived from an utter frustration and disatisfaction with so called "traditional" Marxist social psychology. From existentialism to Freudianism, from social behaviorism to structuralism, the attempt has been made to supplant or negate Marx's psychological content. Many of these attempts have demonstrated little concern for the philosophical implications of their brutalizations of Marx. The accusation that various attempts at "translating" Marx's psychological content are not "faithful" to Marx is frequently heard. This is partially attributable to Marx's own ambiguity. As such, it is a problem that confronts anyone who wishes to study Marx and to make public the results of his study. I see no reason why this attempt should escape this fate. However, with effort, perhaps this attempt will prove more faithful and less brutal. This is my sincere hope and stated aim.
Broadbent, Roy Edwin, "Social Psychology and the Theory of Working Class Revolution in Karl Marx" (1982). Open Access Dissertations and Theses. Paper 2874.
McMaster University Library