Historical Archeology, Dialectical Marxism, and “C.F.U.G. Studies”
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In studying capitalism in general, Marx declares it his chief aim “to lay bare its law of motion”; and his main way of proceeding is to begin with its present state, and then move backwards into the past by uncovering its necessary preconditions, especially within the mode of production (asking essentially—what had to have happened earlier for the present to appear and function as it does?). After which, he reverses himself, and, starting with where he arrived in the past, he re-examines the same conditions and events—using whatever evidence is available—as they evolved up to the present. Finally, with the help of the contradictory tendencies (often referred to as “laws”) that are brought into view by combining these two steps, Marx projects in broad outline where capitalism seems to be heading. Human beings, divided into social classes, come into this analysis—as both causes and effects—every step along the way. The present article examines what the discipline of archeology can contribute to this project.