Knafo and Teschke’s 2020 article, ‘Political Marxism and the Rules of Reproduction of Capitalism: A Historicist Critique’, is an important contribution to the debate between structuralist and historicist interpretations of Marxism. As such, it presents important implications for how Marxism is presented in broader academic debates. My aim is to highlight the contribution of its radical historicism and its methodological emphasis on agency for questioning Eurocentric macro-narratives, through an engagement with the ways in which Marxism (and the problem of Eurocentric structuralism) is presented in Post- and Decolonial traditions. I end by drawing briefly upon examples from my previous work on Brazilian state-formation and development.
This article responds to Samuel Knafo and Benno Teschke’s recent critique of Political Marxism and their proposal for an alternative, ‘radical agency-centred’ historicism. While sympathetic to the critiques raised by the authors, I am less convinced by the conclusions they reach. Rather than abandon Political Marxism altogether, I argue that there remains much of value in the tradition. Through an analysis of the differential path of capitalist development in settler-colonial Canada, I suggest that bringing the methodological insights of Uneven and Combined Development to bear on the theoretical material of Political Marxism can alleviate the problems identified by the authors.
According to Marx’s unfinished critique of political economy, capitalist relations of production rely on what Marx refers to in Capital as ‘the mute compulsion of economic relations’. The aim of this article is to demonstrate that this constitutes a distinct form of economic power which cannot be reduced to either ideology or violence, and to provide the conceptual groundwork for a systematic theory of capital’s mute compulsion.
Human-animal studies have taken a “wild turn” because of growing concern that the urgency to preserve or restore native species and ecosystems has led to overlooking the pain and suffering inflicted upon nonhuman animals targeted as threats to that cause. Martha Nussbaum’s capabilities approach is used to examine the case of wild horses in the American West. Federal law protecting them predates amendments requiring managers to regulate their numbers because of conservation. I conclude that the wild horse program meets Nussbaum’s definition of compassion in important respects, and that temporary fertility control, long-term pastures, and adoptions fulfill her criteria of justice, but with important qualifications. The capabilities approach relies on the possibility of rational discourse about the protection of wildlife individuals, but that consensus might apply only to certain species. In addition, “culture wars” plaguing the U.S. threaten the possibility of a consensus about compassion and justice for nonhuman animals.
Historical research is always in danger of being made use of for explaining and illustrating instead of testing one’s theoretical conceptions. Since Marxist historical research has certainly not been exempt from this temptation, one has to start any debate about Marxist historiography with the demand to accord empirical research the chance to shake even the cornerstones of one’s own theoretical conceptions. In a paper that has triggered off a new discussion on ‘Political Marxism’, Samuel Knafo and Benno Teschke insist on such a practice. In what follows I try to position the ongoing discussion in the wider context of theoretical concepts of Marxist historiography.
This chapter highlights the prospects of employing a policy mobilities perspective to advance the study of secular flows across different socio-political contexts. Originating in geography, the policy mobilities literature offers diverse theoretical and methodological tools to study the movement, mutation, and assemblages of policies across borders. Applying this framework to the sociology of religion, the chapter features two exploratory case studies. The first study examines the impact of France’s laïcité (state secularism) narrative on the Canadian province of Québec’s changing secular policy agendas in the past decade. The second study surveys the spread of “burqa bans”—laws against face covering in public spaces in five European Union countries (France, Belgium, Bulgaria, Austria, and Denmark). Qualitative data from these examples suggest that policymakers and other stakeholders routinely rely on other cases as a reference point, and interact with and learn from their external counterparts; yet rather than a simple transfer, they domestically mobilize such policies in novel configurations. The chapter contends that a policy mobilities outlook holds a vast potential to help the literature go beyond viewing religious freedoms as nationally isolated phenomena, and take into account the globally interconnected nature of historical and contemporary secularities.
This chapter examines the interactive influences of endogenous cultural and structural factors, specifically religion, religious freedom, and Gender Inequality Index (gii) scores on level of commitment to the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against Women (cedaw) for 184 nation-state members of the United Nations and then, more specifically, for forty-five predominantly Muslim nations. The inclusion of religious freedom, religious repression, and secular repression in the analysis qualifies previous research results showing significant and persistent differences between predominantly Muslim nations and other nations on gender inequality measures and cedaw commitment. The analysis partially corroborates the earlier findings; Muslim majority nations reveal higher gii scores and lower cedaw commitment. However, adding religious freedom to the data categories shows high gii and low cedaw commitment to be most applicable to religiously repressive Muslim majority nations. Religiously free and secular repressive nations approximate all other United Nations member states’ patterns.
Do individual positions toward religious truth-claims matter for perceptions of religious freedom? Relying on a survey of 1,035 university students from Northern Italy, this chapter conducts a micro-level analysis on the social perceptions of religious freedom (sprf). Using a five-dimensional measure of the sprf concept, we find that four out of five dimensions are widely accepted with the main differences occurring between Catholic youth and religious nones. The analysis of religious truth-claims suggested that pluralism, agnosticism, and interreligious perspectives were endorsed in the sample, and all truth-claims positions were selectively associated with religious freedom dimensions. The causal relationship between pluralistic truth-claims and the religious freedom measure is not depicted while atheism, compared to other truth-claim positions, is less supportive to the societal values of religious freedom. Moreover, positive views toward religious diversity have strong positive influences on the perceptions of religious freedom as individual autonomy, societal value, and a human rights principle while neglecting religious diversity leads to the disrespect to religious freedom as a human right.