This introduction provides an overview of major themes and debates in the development of Marxist state theory—from Marx's own forays into conceptualizing the capitalist state up until the closing of the last major wave of theory construction in the 1970s. The individual chapters comprising the volume are then introduced and situated with respect to the thematic and conceptual linkages across them, as well as the tensions and disagreements between them. What unites them is their rejection of a rigid dichotomy between economistic reductionism, on the one hand, and thinking of the state as unmoored from class conflict, on the other. The introduction concludes with considerations on the urgent tasks for Marxist state theory in the present moment, with an eye toward encouraging future research and discussions.
This is a preview of subscription content, access via your institution.
Tax calculation will be finalised at checkout
Purchases are for personal use onlyLearn about institutional subscriptions
For an attempt at establishing a complementarity between these two clusters of views, see Gallas (2011).
Alami, Ilias, Milan Babic, Adam D. Dixon, and Imogen T. Liu. 2022. ‘Special Issue Introduction: What Is the New State Capitalism?’ Contemporary Politics 28 (3): 245–63.
Albo, Greg, Leo Panitch, and Alan Zuege, eds. 2018. Class, Party, Revolution: A Socialist Register Reader. Chicago: Haymarket.
Althusser, Louis.  1969. For Marx. London: Verso.
Althusser, Louis and Etienne Balibar. 1965 . Reading Capital. London: Verso.
Anievas, Alex, and Kerem Nişancıoğlu. 2015. How the West Came to Rule: The Geopolitical Origins of Capitalism. London: Pluto Press.
Aronowitz, Stanley, and Peter Bratsis, eds. 2002. Paradigm Lost: State Theory Reconsidered. Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press.
Arruzza, Cinzia. 2016. ‘Functionalist, Determinist, Reductionist: Social Reproduction Feminism and Its Critics’. Science & Society 80 (1): 9–30.
Auvrey, Tristan, and Cédric Durand. 2019. ‘A European Capitalism? Revisiting the Mandel-Poulantzas Debate’. In The End of the Democratic State: Nicos Poulantzas, a Marxism for the 21st Century, edited by Jean-Numa. Ducange and Razmig Keucheyan, 145–65. Cham: Palgrave Macmillan.
Barrett, Michèle. 1980. Women’s Oppression Today: Problems in Marxist Feminist Analysis. London: Verso.
Barrow, Clyde W. 2008. ‘Ralph Miliband the Instrumentalist Theory of the State: The (Mis)Construction of an Analytic Concept’. In Class, Power, and the State in Capitalist Society: Essays on Ralph Miliband, edited by Paul Wetherly, Clyde W. Barrow, and Peter Burnham, 84–108. Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan.
Barrow, Clyde W. 2016. Toward a Critical Theory of States: The Poulantzas-Miliband Debate After Globalization. Albany: SUNY Press.
Bhattacharyya, Gargi. 2018. Rethinking Racial Capitalism: Questions of Reproduction and Survival. Lanham, MD: Rowman and Littlefield.
Block, Fred. 1977. ‘The Ruling Class Does Not Rule: Notes on the Marxist Theory of the State’. Socialist Revolution 33 (May–June): 6–28.
Bonefeld, Werner. 2014. Critical Theory and the Critique of Political Economy: On Subversion and Negative Reason. New York: Bloomsbury.
Bonefeld, Werner, and John Holloway, eds. 1996. Global Capital, National State and the Politics of Money. Basingstoke: Macmillan.
Brown, Wendy. 2015. Undoing the Demos: Neoliberalism’s Stealth Revolution. New York: Zone Books.
Clarke, Simon. 1988. Keynesianism, Monetarism and the Crisis of the State. Cheltenham: Edward Elgar.
Clarke, Simon, ed. 1991. The State Debate. Basingstoke: Macmillan.
Copley, Jack, and Alexis Moraitis. 2021. ‘Beyond the Mutual Constitution of States and Markets: On the Governance of Alienation’. New Political Economy 26 (3): 490–508.
Davis, Angela Y. 1983. Women, Race & Class. New York: Vintage.
Dimick, Matthew. 2021. ‘Pashukanis’ Commodity-Form Theory of Law’. In Research Handbook on Law and Marxism, edited by Paul O’Connell and Umut Özsu, 115–38. Cheltenham: Edward Elgar.
Eley, Geoff. 2002. Forging Democracy: The History of the Left in Europe, 1850–2000. New York: Oxford University Press.
Evans, Peter B., Dietrich Rueschemeyer, and Theda Skocpol. 1985. Bringing the State Back In. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.
Fields, Karen E., and Barbara J. Fields. 2014. Racecraft: The Soul of Inequality in American Life. London: Verso.
Fraser, Nancy. 2022. Cannibal Capitalism: How Our System Is Devouring Democracy, Care, and the Planet and What We Can Do About It. London: Verso.
Gallas, Alexander. 2011. ‘Reading “Capital” with Poulantzas: “Form” and “Struggle” in the Critique of Political Economy’. In Reading Poulantzas, edited by Alexander Gallas, Lars Bretthauer, John Kannankulam, and Ingo Stutzle, 89–106. London: Merlin Press.
Giménez, Martha E. 2018. Marx, Women, and Capitalist Social Reproduction: Marxist-Feminist Essays. Leiden: Brill.
Gold, David A., Clarence Y. H. Lo, and Erik Olin Wright. 1975. ‘Recent Developments in Marxist Theories of the Capitalist State’. Parts I & II. Monthly Review (October and November): 29–41, 36–51.
Gonzalez, Maya Andrea. 2011. ‘Communization and the Abolition of Gender’. In Communization and Its Discontents: Contestation, Critique, and Contemporary Struggles, edited by Benjamin Noys, 219–34. Wivenhoe: Minor Compositions.
Hall, Stuart. 2021. Selected Writings on Race and Difference. edited by Paul Gilroy and Ruth Wilson Gilmore. Durham: Duke University Press.
Hall, Stuart, et al. 1978. Policing the Crisis: Mugging, the State, and Law and Order. Basingstoke: Macmillan.
Heinrich, Michael. 2012. An Introduction to the Three Volumes of Karl Marx’s Capital. Translated by Alexander Locascio. New York: Monthly Review Press.
Heller, Henry. 2011. The Birth of Capitalism: A 21st Century Perspective. London: Pluto Press.
Hobsbawm, Eric. 1994. The Age of Extremes: A History of the World, 1914–1991. New York: Vintage.
Holloway, John, and Sol Picciotto. 1978. ‘Introduction: Towards a Materialist Theory of the State’. In State and Capital: A Marxist Debate, edited by John Holloway and Sol Picciotto, 1–31. London: Edward Arnold.
Hudis, Peter. 2012. Marx’s Concept of the Alternative to Capitalism. Leiden: Brill.
Hunter, Rob. 2021. ‘Marx’s Critique and the Constitution of the Capitalist State’. In Research Handbook on Law and Marxism, edited by Paul O’Connell and Umut Özsu, 190–208. Cheltenham: Edward Elgar.
Jessop, Bob. 1982. The Capitalist State: Marxist Theories and Methods. Oxford: Martin Robertson.
———. 2008. ‘Dialogue of the Deaf: Some Reflections on the Poulantzas-Miliband Debate’. In Class, Power, and the State in Capitalist Society: Essays on Ralph Miliband, edited by Paul Wetherly, Clyde W. Barrow, and Peter Burnham, 132–57. Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan.
______. 2001. ‘Bringing the State Back In (Yet Again): Reviews, Revisions, Rejections, and Redirections.’ International Review of Sociology. 11 (2): 149–173.
Landa, Ishay. 2012. The Apprentice’s Sorcerer: Liberal Tradition and Fascism. Chicago, Illinois: Haymarket Books.
Lenin, V. I. 2014. State and Revolution: Fully Annotated Edition. Edited by Todd Chretien. Haymarket Books.
MacKinnon, Catharine A. 1989. Toward a Feminist Theory of the State. Cambridge: Harvard University Press.
McNally, David. 2017. ‘Intersections and Dialectics: Critical Reconstructions in Social Reproduction Theory’. In Social Reproduction Theory: Remapping Class, Recentering Oppression, edited by Tithi Bhattacharya, 94–111. London: Pluto Press.
Marx, Karl. 1973. Grundrisse: Foundations of the Critique of Political Economy. Translated by Martin Nicolaus. London: Penguin Books.
———. 1990. Capital: A Critique of Political Economy. Translated by Ben Fowkes. Vol. I. London: Penguin Books.
Marx, Karl, and Friedrich Engels. 1975. Marx and Engels Collected Works, vol. 3. London: Lawrence & Wishart.
———. 1976. Marx and Engels Collected Works, vol. 5. London: Lawrence & Wishart.
———. 1986. Marx and Engels Collected Works, vol. 22. London: Lawrence & Wishart.
———. 1987. Marx and Engels Collected Works, vol. 25. London: Lawrence & Wishart.
Miliband, Ralph. 1969. The State in Capitalist Society. New York: Basic Books.
———. 1970. ‘The Capitalist State: Reply to Nicos Poulantzas’. New Left Review I/59 (Jan–Feb.): 53–60.
———. 1973. ‘Poulantzas and the Capitalist State’. New Left Review I/82 (Nov–Dec): 83–92.
———. 1978. ‘Constitutionalism and Revolution: Notes on Eurocommunism’. Socialist Register 15: 158–171.
Miles, Robert. 1982. Racism and Migrant Labour: A Critical Text. London: Routledge.
Mohandesi, Salar. 2022. ‘Imperialism’. In The Sage Handbook of Marxism, Vol. 1, edited by Alberto Toscano, Sara R. Farris, and Svenja Bromberg, 430–47. London: Sage.
Munro, Kirstin. 2019. ‘“Social Reproduction Theory”, Social Reproduction, and Household Production’. Science & Society 83 (4): 451–68.
Murray, Patrick. 1988. Marx’s Theory of Scientific Knowledge. Atlantic Highlands, NJ: Humanities Press.
Musto, Marcello, ed. 2020. The Marx Revival: Key Concepts and New Interpretations. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.
Nanopoulos, Eva. 2021. ‘From Class-Based Project to Imperial Formation: European Union Law and the Reconstruction of Europe’. In Research Handbook on Law and Marxism, edited by Paul O’Connell and Umut Özsu, 375–98. Cheltenham: Edward Elgar.
Pashukanis, Evgeny B. 1989. Law and Marxism: A General Theory. Translated by Barbara Einhorn. London: Pluto Press.
Panitch, Leo, and Sam Gindin. 2013. The Making of Global Capitalism: The Political Economy of American Empire. London: Verso.
Poulantzas, Nicos. 1973 . Political Power and Social Classes. London: New Left Books.
———. 1976. ‘The Capitalist State: A Reply to Miliband and Laclau’. New Left Review I/95 (Jan–Feb.): 63–83.
———. 1978. State, Power, Socialism. London: Verso.
———. 1979. ‘Interview with Nicos Poulantzas’. Marxism Today. July 1979: 194–201.
Reuten, Geert, and Michael Williams. 1989. Value-Form and the State: The Tendencies of Accumulation and the Determination of Economic Policy in Capitalist Society. London: Routledge.
Roediger, David R. 1991. The Wages of Whiteness: Race and the Making of the American Working Class. London: Verso.
Rosenberg, Justin. 1994. The Empire of Civil Society: A Critique of the Realist Theory of International Relations. London: Verso.
Sargent, Lydia, ed. 1981. The Unhappy Marriage of Marxism and Feminism: A Debate on Class and Patriarchy. London: Pluto Press.
Singh, Nikhil Pal. 2016. ‘On Race, Violence, and So-Called Primitive Accumulation’. Social Text 34 (3): 27–50.
Skocpol, Theda. 1980. ‘Political Responses to Capitalist Crisis: Neo-Marxist Theories of the State and the New Deal’. Politics & Society 10 (2): 155–201.
Smith, Tony. 2017. Beyond Liberal Egalitarianism: Marx and Normative Social Theory in the Twenty-First Century. Leiden: Brill.
Steinberg, Marc W. 2010. ‘Marx, Formal Subsumption and the Law’. Theory and Society 39 (2): 173–202.
Sumida, Soichiro. 2018. ‘Die Zusammenfassung der bürgerlichen Gesellschaft in der Staatsform: Zu Marx’. Theorie Des Staats.’ Marx-Engels Jahrbuch 2017 (1): 41–60.
Therborn, Göran. 1978. What Does the Ruling Class Do When it Rules? London: Verso.
Vogel, Lise. 1983. Marxism and the Oppression of Women: Toward a Unitary Theory. New Brunswick: Rutgers University Press.
Wendling, Amy E. 2013. ‘Second Nature: Gender in Marx’s Grundrisse’. In In Marx’s Laboratory: Critical Interpretations of the Grundrisse, edited by Riccardo Bellofiore, Guido Starosta, and Peter D. Thomas, 347–69. Leiden: Brill.
Williams, Michael, ed. 1988. Value, Social Form and the State. Houndmills: Macmillan.
Editors and Affiliations
© 2023 The Author(s), under exclusive license to Springer Nature Switzerland AG
About this chapter
Cite this chapter
Hunter, R., Khachaturian, R., Nanopoulos, E. (2023). Introduction: Reopening the State Debate. In: Hunter, R., Khachaturian, R., Nanopoulos, E. (eds) Marxism and the Capitalist State. Political Philosophy and Public Purpose. Palgrave Macmillan, Cham. https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-031-36167-8_1
Publisher Name: Palgrave Macmillan, Cham
Print ISBN: 978-3-031-36166-1
Online ISBN: 978-3-031-36167-8