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Abstract

While the overview concerning debates on bourgeois revolutions is impressive, it cannot elucidate the theoretical concept of bourgeois revolutions. Neil Davidson’s own suggestion centres on the removal of hindrances to the breakthrough of capitalism, especially the pre-capitalist state. This formalistic definition is based on the assumption that revolutions occurred when the superstructure became a hindrance to the further development of productive forces. It deprives the theoretical concept of bourgeois revolutions of any concrete historical content. This paper suggests restricting the use of the theoretical concept ‘bourgeois revolution’ to those revolutionary changes of domination and appropriation which occurred in European societies of the ancien régime.

In: Historical Materialism
The Functioning of Capitalism in History
Translator:
** Winner of the Deutscher Memorial Prize 2023. ** Despite their many disagreements when it comes to the subject of capitalism, Marxist and market-liberal approaches seem to agree about one thing: the economic structures of capitalist market society have made direct violence against the person not only superfluous, but economically counterproductive. Heide Gerstenberger's Market and Violence does not contest the thesis that there has been, in many places, a decline in the use of violence in the pursuit of profit; but it demolishes the assumption that this can be put down to the evolution of economic rationality. By means of a deep engagement with the concrete historical reality of capitalist economies, Gerstenberger establishes that, wherever capitalism has been tamed, this has been achieved only by a combination of energetic social contestation and political intervention. First published in German in 2018, the present English-language edition makes a sweeping history of capitalist violence by one of the preeminent theorists of capitalist society working today available to a wider readership.

Abstract

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.

In: Historical Materialism
History and Theory of the Bourgeois State
Translator:
The point of departure of Heide Gerstenberger’s path-breaking work is a critique of structural-functionalist theory of the state, in both its modernisation theory and materialist variants. Prof. Gerstenberger opposes to these a historical-theoretical explanation that proceeds from the long-term structuring effect of concrete social practice. This is elucidated by detailed investigation of the development of bourgeois state power in the two key examples of England and France. The different complexions that the bourgeois state assumed are presented as the results of processes of social and cultural formation, and thus irreducible to a simple function of capitalism. This approach culminates in the thesis that the bourgeois form of capitalist state power arose only where capitalist societies developed out of already rationalised structures of the Ancien Régime type.
In: Market and Violence
In: Market and Violence
In: Market and Violence
In: Market and Violence
In: Market and Violence
In: Market and Violence