What is the relation between modernism and Marxist theory?

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Jessica Pope eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Modernism is a collection of philosophies characterized by rationalism, intellectualism, material advancement, scientific reasoning, a rejection of tradition, and moral relativism. Historically, modernism is associated with a society's departure from feudalism. Modernism is the intellectual and philosophical transition that accompanies a society's economic transition from an agrarian to a more industrial economy.

Marxism is an example of a modernist philosophy. Marxist philosophy claims that history itself is a trajectory that can be understood intellectually and scientifically. Pre-modern notions of history emphasize the will of the Gods or the stars in the unfolding of human history. Pre-modern history also emphasizes the precarious nature of human existence and the capricious nature of the Gods. Marxism, on the other hand, presents history as a progressive story that can be understood and manipulated through scientific or intellectual means.

Marxism also emphasizes a break from tradition. It contains a strong critique of traditional class structures, religious systems, and traditional systems of morality. Marxism, with its emphasis on deconstructing tradition and moving history forward, exemplifies many core aspects of modernism.

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