What Is Living and What Is Dead in the Marxist Theory of History

in Historical Materialism
Restricted Access
Get Access to Full Text
Rent on DeepDyve

Have an Access Token?



Enter your access token to activate and access content online.

Please login and go to your personal user account to enter your access token.



Help

Have Institutional Access?



Access content through your institution. Any other coaching guidance?



Connect

Abstract

During the 1980s and 1990s, the debate on the Marxist theory of history centred largely around the work of Robert Brenner’s property-relations-centred construal of it, and G.A. Cohen’s attempt to revive the classical, determinist argument. This article examines two influential arguments by Erik Wright and his colleagues, and by Alan Carling, which acknowledge important weaknesses in Cohen’s work, but which also try to construct a more plausible version of his theory. I show that the attempts to rescue Cohen are largely unsuccessful. And, to the extent that they render the argument plausible, they do so at the cost of turning it, willy-nilly, into a kind of class-struggle theory. I conclude that this spells the demise of the classical version of historical materialism, but also observe that this does not leave us with a voluntaristic understanding of history, as some of its defenders fear.

Historical Materialism

Research in Critical Marxist Theory

Sections

Information

Content Metrics

Content Metrics

All Time Past Year Past 30 Days
Abstract Views 26 26 18
Full Text Views 2 2 2
PDF Downloads 3 3 3
EPUB Downloads 0 0 0