Democracy Against Capitalism: Renewing Historical Materialism

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Cambridge University Press, Mar 9, 1995 - Political Science - 300 pages
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Ellen Meiksins Wood argues that with the collapse of Communism the theoretical project of Marxism and its critique of capitalism is more timely and important than ever. Current intellectual fashions of the left which emphasise 'post-modern' fragmentation, 'difference', contingency and the 'politics of identity' can barely accommodate the idea of capitalism, let alone subject the capitalist system to critique. In this book she sets out to renew the critical programme of historical materialism by redefining its basic concepts and its theory of history in original and imaginative ways, using them to identify the specificity of capitalism as a system of social relations and political power. She goes on to explore the concept of democracy in both the ancient and modern world, examining the concept's relation to capitalism, and raising questions about how democracy might go beyond the limits imposed on it by capitalism.
 

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Contents

Introduction
1
Historical Materialism and the Specificity of Capitalism
19
Rethinking base and superstructure
49
Class as process and relationship
76
History or technological determinism?
108
History or teleology? Marx versus Weber
146
Democracy against capitalism
179
Labour and democracy ancient and modern
181
The demos versus we the people from ancient to modern conceptions of citizenship
204
Civil society and the politics of identity
238
Capitalism and human emancipation race gender and democracy
264
Conclusion
284
Index
294
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