Karl Marx: New Perspectives

  • Richard Kilminster
Part of the St Antony's Series book series (STANTS)


This chapter explains the significant challenges involved in a reappraisal of the scientific status of Marx as a pioneer in the longer-term development of a relatively detached, independent discipline of sociology. His work is decoupled from forms of Marxism, which tend ideologically either to freeze his ideas in time or to simplify them for political purposes, often enveloping him in a mythical aura. The genesis of his work in the 1840s is reconstructed, and Marx’s important insights into the structured nature of economic power are acknowledged. Drawbacks include the metaphysical thinking surviving in his theories, political overstatements and lack of a sociological psychology. Subsequently, a pared-down version of traditional Marxism informed the perceived imperative of a politically committed ‘critical’ sociology, which has further impeded the achievement of a more balanced picture of Marx’s standing.



I am grateful to Tim Bickerstaffe, Jonathan Fletcher, Bridget Fowler, Jason Hughes, Anthea Kilminster, Steve Loyal, Stephen Mennell, Phil Sutton, Terry Wassall and Cas Wouters for many discussions about the issues raised in this chapter and/or for comments on earlier drafts.


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Authors and Affiliations

  • Richard Kilminster
    • 1
  1. 1.University of LeedsLeedsUK

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