Reconstructing Marxism: Essays on Explanation and the Theory of History

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Verso, 1992 - Political Science - 202 pages
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Reconstructing Marxism explores fundamental questions about the structure of Marxist theory and its prospects for the future. The authors maintain that the disintegration of the old theoretical unity of classical Marxism is in part responsible for what is commonly called the "crisis of Marxism." Only a reconstructed Marxism can come to terms with this disintegration.

Addressing a range of problems in historical materialism and class analysis, the authors compare historical materialism with Darwinian evolutionary theory, and identify what is distinctively "historical" in Marx's theory of history. Through an evaluation of G.A. Cohen's defense and Anthony Giddens's critique of historical materialism they suggest what a plausible, yet still Marxist. theory of history might be. They analyze the relationship of microanalysis to macro theory and the assignment of causal primacy in explanations, and present a general assessment of the current state of Marxist theory and the prospects for its analytical reconstruction.

Distinguished by the clarity of its presentation, the analytical rigour of its argument and its concern with fundamental philosophical and sociological issues, Reconstructing Marxism advances, at this critical juncture in the history of Marxism, a challenging new research programme.
 

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Contents

Classical Historical Materialism
13
What is Historical about Historical Materialism?
47
Historical Trajectories
61
Towards a Reconstructed Historical Materialism
89
Marxism and Methodological Individualism
107
Causal Asymmetries
129
Prospects for the Marxist Agenda
179
Bibliography
193
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About the author (1992)

Elliott Sober is Hans Reichenbach Professor and William F. Vilas Research Professor at the Department of Philosophy at the University of Wisconsin-Madison.

Erik Olin Wright is Vilas Distinguished Professor of Sociology at the University of Wisconsin. He is the author of many books, including Classes, Interrogating Inequality, Class Counts, Deepening Democracy (with Archon Fung), and Envisioning Real Utopias. For more information on Envisioning Real Utopias and the Real Utopias project, and to access book content, please visit realutopias.org (site in progress).

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