The Ancient Mode of Production, the City-State and Politics

In: Historical Materialism
Carlos García Mac Gaw Department of History, Universidad Nacional de La Plata Argentina

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This paper briefly examines the concept of the ancient mode of production as expressed in Karl Marx’s Formations. It looks at how twentieth-century Marxist historiography picks up this concept in its characterisation of the Greco-Roman city-state. It explores the feasibility of the use of the concept in relation to the advancement of knowledge of the city-state, especially through the development of archaeology. It examines how social classes are structured and relations of exploitation are presented. And it analyses the need for politics in the organisation of this socio-economic form in terms of how it is joined up with the social relations of production.

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