Since the 1990s there has been an upsurge of academic interest in Trotsky’s concept of uneven and combined development, but relatively little attention has been paid to its intellectual antecedents. This first of two articles will reconstruct the sources and components of uneven and combined development, in particular the strategy of permanent revolution, the conditions for which it was intended as an explanation, and the theory of uneven development, which Trotsky had to extend in order to provide that explanation. The article moves between the concepts of permanent revolution and uneven development, tracing their historical development from emergence in the eighteenth century until the era of the first Russian Revolution. By this point a relationship between the two had begun to be established by Marxists on the centre and left of the Second International, and in turn made possible the formulation of the “law” of uneven and combined development, which will be discussed in the second article.
The article begins by reconstructing the theory of uneven and combined development from Trotsky’s own writings in relation to Russia. It then looks more closely at the notion of the “modern” which in Trotsky’s account combines with the “archaic” or “backward,” before arguing that role of modernity suggests that uneven and combined development has been a far more widespread process than solely in the Third World/Global South. Drawing attention first to the English exception, the article then surveys examples from both West and East before concluding with an assessment of the relative durability of both permanent revolution and uneven development in the twenty-first century.
INTERVENTION Neil Davidson Stalinism, ‘Nation Theory’ and Scottish History: A Reply to John Foster 1 Introduction The Origins of Scottish Nationhood was an attempt to resolve two problems, one of history and the other of contemporary politics. The historical problem was the apparent failure of the Scottish nation to conform to the modernist conception of nationhood, in w hic h na tiona l c on scio usn ess rst dev elo ps during the transition to either capitalism (in classical Marxism) or industrialisation (in classical sociology). If Scotland was a nation in 1057 or 1320, as is so often
Historical Materialism research in critical marxist theory Editorial Advisory Board Aijaz Ahmad (New Delhi) Greg Albo (Toronto) Robert Albritton (Toronto) Elmar Altvater (Berlin) Giovanni Arrighi (Baltimore) Chris Arthur (Brighton) Jairus Banaji (Bombay) Colin Barker (Manchester) Daniel Bensaïd (Paris) Henry Bernstein (London) Patrick Bond ( Johannesburg) Werner Bonefeld (York) Mark Bould (Bristol) Bill Bowring (London) Robert Brenner (Los Angeles) Simon Bromley (Leeds) Michael Burawoy (Berkeley) Paul Burkett (Terre Haute) Peter Burnham (Warwick) Terry Byres (London) Alex Callinicos (York) Guglielmo Carchedi (Amsterdam) Alan Carling (Bradford) Vivek Chibber (New York) Andrew Chitty (Sussex) Simon Clarke (Warwick) David Coates (Reynolda Station) Andrew Collier (Southampton)