A Periodisation of Marx’s Views on the Division of Labour

  • Ali Rattansi
Part of the Contemporary Social Theory book series


While any attempt to divide Marx’s discourse into developmental stages is bound to encounter difficulties, a threefold scheme probably constitutes the most adequate periodisation of his changing views on the division of labour: (1) the early writings, from the 1844 Manuscripts to The German Ideology — at this stage Marx has a vision of total emancipation and completely assimilates ‘division of labour’ to ‘class’; (2) a transitional stage, chiefly represented by The Poverty of Philosophy (1847), in which Marx separates ‘social division of labour’ from the division of labour in manufacture — this period also contains some important political writings which register an attempt to detach the analysis of the state from a reduction to ‘division of labour’ tout court; (3) the mature writings, beginning with the Grundrisse (1856–7), in which Marx develops the theory of surplus value and begins to separate ‘class’ from the ‘division of labour’ in his analysis. I shall examine each period in turn.

Copyright information

© Ali Rattansi 1982

Authors and Affiliations

  • Ali Rattansi
    • 1
  1. 1.University of Leicester School of EducationUK

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