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Author: Paul Cammack

Abstract

Marx is generally reckoned to have had too little to say about what has come to be defined as ‘social reproduction’, largely as a consequence of too narrow a focus on industrial production, and a relative disregard for issues of gender. This paper argues in contrast that the approach he developed with Engels and in Capital, Volume 1, provides a powerful framework for its analysis. After an introductory discussion of recent literature on social reproduction the second section sets out Marx’s approach to the ‘production of life, both of one’s own in labour and of fresh life in procreation’. The third addresses his account of reproduction in Capital, Volume 1, Chapter 23. The fourth and fifth compare the relationship of the family to industry and exchange as depicted in Capital and in the present day respectively. The conclusion suggests some implications for theories of social reproduction.

In: Historical Materialism
Author: Kohei Saito

Abstract

When the existing order cannot offer a solution, the solution to climate crisis must come from the radical left, and this is precisely why Karl Marx’s idea of ecosocialism is more important than ever. In this context, it is worth revisiting not only the legacy of István Mészáros’s theory of ‘social metabolism’ and that of his successors – who can be categorised as comprising the ‘metabolic rift school’, which includes John Bellamy Foster, Paul Burkett, and Brett Clark –, but also Karl Marx’s own theory of metabolism. In order to highlight the contemporary importance of Marx’s theory of metabolism after its long suppression in the twentieth century, this paper aims at classifying the three different levels of Marx’s concept of ‘metabolic rift’, which also entails clarifying three different levels of ‘metabolic shift’ as the theoretical foundation for updating Marx’s theory of postcapitalism in the age of global ecological crisis.

In: Historical Materialism

Abstract

Marxism has often been associated with two different legacies. The first rests on a strong exposition and critique of the logic of capitalism, grounded in a systematic analysis of the laws of motion of capitalism as a system. The second legacy refers to a strong historicist perspective grounded in a conception of social relations that emphasises the centrality of power and social conflict to the analysis of history. This article challenges the prominence of structural accounts of capitalism by showing how the tension between these legacies has played out within Political Marxism, both orientations already having co-existed, somewhat uneasily, within Robert Brenner’s original contributions to the Transition Debate. Through this internal critique and re-formulation of Political Marxism, we wish to open a broader debate within Marxism on the need for a more agency-based account of capitalism, which builds more explicitly on the concept of social relations, to recover the historicist legacy of Marxism.

In: Historical Materialism
Author: Lars T. Lih

Abstract

Why did Marx declare the revolution permanent? A careful examination of the celebrated passages from March 1850 in their immediate rhetorical context shows that he intended to affirm the tactical principles laid down earlier in the Communist Manifesto – as opposed to standard ‘anti-stagist’ interpretations that present the Permanenz locution of 1850 as a break with these principles. Among such principles: keeping eyes firmly fixed on the prize – the permanent final goal of a complete overhaul of society – is essential to maintaining a proper perspective on history’s way-stations, that is, the necessary but subordinate revolutionary tasks and allies; and public declaration of the permanent goal is essential for preserving the independence of the workers’ movement and thus for carrying out the proletariat’s world-historical mission of creating a classless society.

In: Historical Materialism
Author: James W. Waters

Abstract

Eco-feminist Val Plumwood has argued that as heirs of rationalism, the developed world has created an ecological crisis that is truly a crisis of reason. Of primary concern is the “rationalist hyper-separation of human identity from nature,” which has caused a great epistemological schism between ethics and ecology. Assuming the ecological crisis is, as Plumwood argues, an epistemological crisis enflamed by the human/non-human, ethical/ecological divisions that take place in modern forms of rationalism, this essay argues that certain western interpretations of Christian divinity—particularly the notion of divinity purported by Thomas Aquinas—have historically supported hegemonic forms of rationalism and human supremacy. After showing that certain Thomist formulations of the divine have buttressed the anthropocentric elements of modern rationalism, I venture a reading of Christian divinity that is radically relational in character. This reading of the divine highlights the inseparability of the human and non-human, and begins doing so by emphasizing the intimate connection between human and non-human animality. Such a re-framing of divinity, I argue, could help bridge the human/non-human, ethical/ecological divides, complicate anthropocentric logic, and mitigate the vast eco-epistemological crisis of our day.

In: Worldviews: Global Religions, Culture, and Ecology

Abstract

Attention to the work of American pragmatist philosopher John Dewey and Native American novelist, poet, and essayist Leslie Silko reveals what are in many ways remarkably similar and complementary conceptualizations of religion, as both authors situate religion in the human’s experienced alienation from and reconnection with the natural world, draw heavily on Romantic motifs in literary art to convey the “religious” dynamics of these experiences, and suggest that readers who sincerely engage with certain literary works of art can come to share in these dynamics in a way that has the potential to help reorient their everyday relations with and attitudes toward the natural world. Reading Dewey alongside Silko thus offers us an interdisciplinary set of resources to articulate and promote an ecological conception of religion founded on a mutualistic-symbiotic mode of human dwelling on the earth.

In: Worldviews: Global Religions, Culture, and Ecology

Abstract

Scientists’ public outreach and engagement have been analyzed in many disciplines, but not in animal experimentation science, even though its relationship with society is complex. Research shows that scientists are active: they participate in public outreach and engagement activities. Scientists profile themselves mostly via the deficit model perspective, either in their attitudes or in the types of activities chosen. With regard to attitudes and behaviors, scientists are not a homogenous group but vary according to demographic and academic factors. This means that the relationship between science and society is predominantly determined by a group of scientists, which may reduce its richness. The study reveals tension between recognition of the importance of engagement and fears of being misquoted and of negative reactions from peers or the hierarchy.

In: Society & Animals

Abstract

The current study investigates human-animal relations with a specific focus on the case of dogs in the late Ottoman Empire. It contextualizes the new type of animal-human relations against the backdrop of the Ottoman modernization efforts, which took the form of institutional, legal, political and social reforms, and relates the adoption of dogs as pet (companion) animals to the global trends of keeping pets in Western Europe. In so doing, it scrutinizes the various religious, medical and professional perspectives concerning dogs and the human world in the late Ottoman Empire; the purchase and transfer of breed dogs from Europe and the middle classes’ responses to this new form of relationship; and finally, the dissemination of pet-keeping culture and practices among Ottoman upper and middle classes.

In: Society & Animals

Abstract

This article examines interconnections between politics and culture in the early Soviet era, using Leon Trotsky’s activities in the campaign for a new everyday life (novyi byt) in 1923 as a case-study. Traditionally, scholars pay attention primarily to Trotsky’s writings on literature and art. In contrast, this article shows the important role of Trotsky’s brochure ‘Problems of Everyday Life’ in the development of a new field of political communication that became the space for criticism of different political and cultural aspects of Soviet power and Bolshevik rule. Using archival and press sources, it shows how the campaign was spread both from below and above, and what were the reasons for its failure to become an alternative cultural revolution.

In: Historical Materialism
Author: John Knight

Abstract

This research is about the reform of the farmer’s chase response to crop-damaging monkeys in Japan. It focuses on a campaign to transform this chase response, known as oiharai, from a simple field-side act of expulsion into a collective, extended, and high-threat (but non-lethal) pursuit aimed at deterring future monkey visits. A number of problems with the reform are identified, including, most fundamentally, a shortage of residents in today’s depopulated, ageing villages able to do the chasing. In order to overcome this obstacle, attempts are made to boost this depleted chase capacity using (human and nonhuman) surrogate chasers.

In: Society & Animals