Marxism Versus Post-Marxism

  • Nicos P. Mouzelis


Given the general anti-Marxist climate of the 1980s, among those Marxists who have taken the ‘reductionism versus empiricism’ dilemma seriously, most have rejected the Marxist paradigm in toto, as a theory which — by its very construction — leads to a deterministic, essentialist view of the social world and/or to authoritarian attitudes in politics.


Institutional Structure Subject Position Social Formation Conceptual Tool Political Sphere 
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    See L. Althusser, For Marx, London: Allen Lane, Penguin, 1969, pp. 183–90 and p. 251. It has to be admitted that it is not always easy to distinguish between conceptual framework (Gen. II) and substantive theory (Gen. III) in the sense that all statements contain both substantive and metatheoretical/methodological elements. However, depending on where the emphasis lies, a distinction can and must be made between theories whose predominant preoccupation is with how to look at the social world, and theories which try to tell us something we do not already know about its functioning and structure.Google Scholar
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    Such an attempt can be seen, for instance, in Marx’s Grundirisse. One can see it as well in M. Mann’s The Sources of Social Power, Vol. 1, Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1986;Google Scholar
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    For the adoption of such a theoretical position in the study of third world capitalist countries cf. John Taylor, From Modernisation to Modes of Production: A Critique of the Sociologies of Development and Underdevelopment, London: Macmillan, 1979, pp. 132 ff. For a more specific application to Latin America cf. D. Portantiero, ‘Dominant Classes and Political Crisis’, Latin America Perspectives, Vol. 1, No. 3, 1974.Google Scholar
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    For a somewhat different approach which also leads to an empiricist treatment of politics, cf. P. Hirst, ‘Economic Classes and Politics’ in A. Hunt (ed.), Class and Class Structure, London: Lawrence and Wishart, 1977;Google Scholar
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    cf. also A. Cutler et al., Marx’s Capital and Capitalism Today, London: Routledge & Kegan Paul. 1977.Google Scholar
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    For a detailed analysis of such connections, see I. Balbus, Marxism and Domination, Princeton, N.J.: Princeton University Press, 1982.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Nicos P. Mouzelis 1990

Authors and Affiliations

  • Nicos P. Mouzelis
    • 1
  1. 1.The London School of Economics and Political ScienceUK

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