Raskolnikov speaks today: Marxism and alienation in Fyodor Dostoyevsky’s Crime and Punishment and the implications for business ethics education

James, Kieran and Briggs, Susan P. and James, Eunice M. (2011) Raskolnikov speaks today: Marxism and alienation in Fyodor Dostoyevsky’s Crime and Punishment and the implications for business ethics education. International Journal of Critical Accounting, 3 (4). pp. 321-349. ISSN 1757-9848


In this paper, we explore main themes in Fyodor Dostoyevsky’s great existentialist 19th century Russian novel Crime and Punishment. We accept the traditional existentialist and Russian Orthodox interpretations of the
novel’s themes but we also argue that the actions of the novel’s main character, the unemployed young student Raskolnikov, contain within them a Marxist
critique of the corrupting power of wealth (in the sense that Terry Eagleton uses the term 'Marxist critique'). Raskolnikov reveals the contradictions and
selfish motives behind the actions of outwardly respectable aristocrats in the novel. Existentially, Raskolnikov recreates himself anew through his actions.
We argue that the complex social consciousness of Raskolnikov, where he is a living critique of the established society without being seemingly outwardly a
'political person', makes him an eternal type that we may encounter again in our postmodern accounting classrooms. This suggests that, to avoid the 24/7 'Raskolnikov gaze' as educators today, we must join him in recreating
ourselves by helping the less fortunate and exploited. By studying Dostoyevsky in business ethics classes, we will do our business students a great service as they can be introduced through the character of Raskolnikov, to the existential concept of recreating oneself through positive action and helping others.

Statistics for USQ ePrint 20017
Statistics for this ePrint Item
Item Type: Article (Commonwealth Reporting Category C)
Refereed: Yes
Item Status: Live Archive
Additional Information: Permanent restricted access to paper due to publisher copyright restrictions.
Faculty/School / Institute/Centre: Historic - Faculty of Business and Law - School of Accounting, Economics and Finance
Date Deposited: 10 Nov 2011 05:47
Last Modified: 26 Aug 2014 03:41
Uncontrolled Keywords: alienation; business ethics; Crime and Punishment; Dostoyevsky; ethics education; existentialism; Marxism; Russian literature; Orthodox Church; Sartre.
Fields of Research : 22 Philosophy and Religious Studies > 2201 Applied Ethics > 220102 Business Ethics
15 Commerce, Management, Tourism and Services > 1501 Accounting, Auditing and Accountability > 150101 Accounting Theory and Standards
Socio-Economic Objective: C Society > 95 Cultural Understanding > 9504 Religion and Ethics > 950402 Business Ethics
Identification Number or DOI: 10.1504/IJCA.2011.042927
URI: http://eprints.usq.edu.au/id/eprint/20017

Actions (login required)

View Item Archive Repository Staff Only