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Karl Marx (in Key thinkers in sociology)

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Bob Jessop
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This version is the pre-print, pre-copyedited version. The published version can be
found here: ‘Karl Marx’, in R. Stones, ed., Key Thinkers in Sociology, Basingstoke:
Macmillan, 21-33, 1998.


I. Driving Impulses

It is odd to begin a book on key sociological thinkers with Karl Marx. He had two career
ambitions as a student: journalism or university teaching. After disruptions due to
censorship, suppression, and political activism, he did eventually eke a living from
extensive economic and political reporting. He never secured an academic post. Even
had he succeeded, he would not have practised sociology. For he dismissed this
discipline as ‘rubbish’ on reading its founding father, Auguste Comte; and its real
intellectual 'takeoff' occurred much later in the 19th century.1 Moreover, contrary to what
one might infer from the history of Marxism after his death, Marx had little political or
theoretical influence in his own lifetime. The Communist Manifesto, intended as a
popular account of scientific socialism, had little impact when published. His
collaborator, Engels, was better known than Marx in the 1840s and 1850s—especially
for his damning account of the condition of the English working class; and, even after
Capital was published, it was Engels’s popularizing works on historical materialism that
stimulated study and debate in international socialism. In short, for a leading sociologist,
Marx seems to have been an apostate and failure.

Yet Marx is often heralded as a founder of sociology and his studies (or influential, if
often distorted, accounts of them) have been the main foil against which much in
sociological theory and sociological research has subsequently been developed. Max
Weber and Emile Durkheim often debated with Marx’s ghost in developing their own

sociological approaches—offering bourgeois analyses to counter those of the
communist thinker. And, although Marxism has frequently been declared moribund, it
has equally often been revived and integrated into current sociological thinking. Thus
Marx certainly counts as a ‘key sociological thinker’.

Marx was born in 1818 in the Westphalian town of Trier, close to France. He studied
humanities at Bonn University and then law and philosophy in Berlin. There he joined a
Young Hegelian club devoted to literary and philosophical issues and aiming to develop
the radical potential of Hegel's philosophy against the conservative cast its master had
given it. The initial battle ground against Right Hegelianism was the nature of religion;
later, under the influence of Feuerbach, attention shifted to the differences between
idealism and materialism. Marx’s writings in this period mainly concerned philosophy,
law, and politics and expressed radical democratic and republican opinions. Only in the
mid-1840s did he begin to study political economy, develop his ‘scientific socialism’, and
advocate communism.

This shift depended on political and theoretical factors. Disillusioned with his fellow
philosophers for merely interpreting the world, instead of changing it, Marx became
increasingly involved in political activities in Germany and France. He also turned from
campaigning for a radical extension of democracy and social equality to place his faith
in the revolutionary potential of the proletarian masses. Marx saw them as uprooted and
dispossessed by industrialization and urbanization and condemned to a life of poverty,
oppression, and alienation. Since they had no stake in society and were subject to all its
ills, they would sooner or later combine to overthrow it. Whilst Marx initially saw in this
‘proletariat’—literally those whose only property was their children—merely the massed
ranks of suffering humanity, his later research on English economists (notably Smith
and Ricardo) and the English economy (then the most advanced capitalist economy) led
him to see it very differently. It actually comprised a distinct class with distinct interests
exploited by the dominant capitalist class in an expanding but inherently contradictory
capitalist mode of production. Thus Marx came to emphasize both the world-
transforming revolutionary dynamic of capitalism and its creation of an expanding,

world-wide class of dispossessed waged labour which would sooner or later overthrow

This brief account may explain why Marxism is said to have three sources: German
philosophy, French politics (especially French socialism), and English economics. But
Marx’s capacity to combine them to produce Marxism depended on the driving impulse
of his close identification with the working class and his attempts to give it solid
intellectual foundations and political direction. In developing his critique of capitalism,
Marx also helped to trigger the development of sociology. The latter provided an
alternative account of modern industrial societies as the the basis for economic, social,
and political reforms that might prevent the revolution Marx predicted and for which a
growing working class movement was mobilizing.

II. Five Central Issues

The first central issue in Marx’s work concerns the nature of the social world and is
expressed in the philosophical dispute between idealism and materialism. The second
concerns the methodological lessons he drew from his version of materialism
(sometimes called ‘historical materialism’) and its implications for social analysis. The
more substantive core of a Marxist ‘sociology’ can be presented in terms of three further
themes: capitalism as a mode of production, class relations and class struggle, and the
relative autonomy of the state in class societies.

A Materialist Social Ontology

Philosophy and the social sciences both involve a long-running debate about the
relation between mind and matter. This debate is organized around two poles (idealism
and materialism) but seems to have endless permutations. It is enough for now,
however, to contrast Hegelian idealism and Marxian materialism.

Hegel treated the self-consciousness of the mind as a substantive, really existing,
disembodied entity and regarded individual minds as fragments of the one true mind (or
Absolute Spirit). In separating spirit, ideas, values from the natural world, he could treat
the latter as the result of the self-realization of the Absolute Spirit. He could also claim
that ‘the real is rational’. That it often appeared less than rational was counter-claimed
by the Young Hegelians, who condemned poverty, misery, and political oppression. In
true idealist fashion, however, they attributed these evils to the grip of unsound ideas—
especially mystification and illusions produced by religion. Thus human emancipation
would depend on overcoming such false consciousness.

Marx soon broke with the Young Hegelians and would later claim to have turned Hegel,
whom he saw as standing on his head, rightside up. Marx started from the analysis of
real human activity, arguing that consciousness is a product of that activity. Thus Marx
proposed that ‘it is not the consciousness of men that determines their existence, but
their social existence that determines their consciousness’. 2 The essence of man's
being was his social nature—man could only develop his capacities and realize his full
potential in a free society. If poverty, misery, and political oppression existed, the
pathological organization of society was to blame rather than aberrant ideas. Human
emancipation required the material transformation of society rather than a mere change
in consciousness. In this context Marx also argued that the key feature of societies was
how they organized material production. He analyzed this in different ways. But, in
general, he understood the material world in terms of a materialist ontology of labour,
i.e., man was a social animal who produced himself and society in and through active
social labour (sometimes broadly understood to include all social practices). Thus,
whereas Hegel viewed the intellectual world of reason, ideas, and spirit as the ultimate
determinant of history, Marx held that it was the economic world broadly understood
that provided the key to understanding and transforming historical development.

Historical Materialism

Marx developed a distinctive method for analysing this development: historical
materialism. Its precise content is controversial. For some, it simply inverts Hegelian
idealism by explaining all of history in terms of the discontinuous development of
material production. For others, it involves applying Hegelian dialectics to the internal
relations and contradictions of capitalism. The first view holds more for the young Marx
and his later broad historical analyses, the second applies more to the mature Marx and
his abstract critique of capitalism. In addition, Marx tried different ways of presenting
historical materialism. The popular view in the Communist Manifesto (1848), for
example, contrasts clearly with the more abstract accounts in Marx's work on capitalism.
Later, Engels would dispute more extreme interpretations of historical materialism which
overemphasized the determining role of technology and/or the economy more generally.

The Manifesto argues with forceful elegance that ‘the history of all hitherto existing
societies is the history of class struggle’. Class struggle is the motor of history. To
understand the course of history, one must analyze the class relations that typify
different historical epochs, the antagonisms and forms of class struggle embodied in
such class relations, the development of class consciousness and revolutionary
movements to challenge the dominant class(es), and the role of successful revolutions
in developing new modes of production and forms of social organization.

An alternative account of historical development, more obviously indebted to the

Hegelian dialectic, emphasized the self-destructive contradictions and ‘laws of motion’
of specific modes of production. Marx advanced two versions of this approach: one in
the 1859 Preface to the Contribution to the Critique of Political Economy, the other
version in Capital.

The Preface argues that society’s economic organization (or its mode of production)
consists in a distinctive pattern of forces and relations of production; this is the
foundation (or basis) on which arises a complex political and ideological superstructure
and definite forms of social consciousness; initially, for each mode of production, the
relations of production facilitate the development of the productive forces; they later act

as a fetter on this development; this initiates an era of social revolution in which the
dominant relations of production (and their legal expression in property rights) are
challenged; any resulting changes in the economic basis sooner or later lead to
superstructural changes. This pattern holds for all societies from primitive communism
through antiquity and feudalism to contemporary capitalism—which is described as the
last antagonistic mode of production. Capital was more concerned with the genesis and
dynamic of capitalism and made fewer claims of a transhistorical nature. It refers to
class struggle mainly in the context of the struggle between capital and labour within
capitalism rather than over its supercession. In this sense, then, it presents a critical
political economy of the capitalist system and its antagonisms rather than a popular
political sociology of revolutionary class struggle. In contrast to the Manifesto, both texts
focus on the unfolding logic of a system rather than class struggle.

The Critique of Capitalism

Capital was less concerned to forecast how capitalism would be overthrown (although
Marx still believed this would occur) than to consider how it had developed and
functioned. Much of Marx’s illustrative material came from England. But he forecast
other countries would undergo the same experiences because capitalism had an
inherent logic independent of its instantiation in specific countries. The key to
understanding this logic was the ‘commodity’ form of social relations—a form that was
most fully developed only in capitalism.

Marx analyzed the capitalism as a mode of production which had two key features.
First, goods and services are produced as commodities, i.e., are produced for sale with
a view to monetary profit rather than for the immediate consumption of the producers.
Second, the individual’s labour-power (capacity to work) acquires the form of a
commodity to be bought and sold in the labour market. Marx regarded the
commodification of labour-power as the distinguishing feature of capitalism. Slaves
could certainly be bought and sold; but slave-owners relied on coercion to extract
surplus from their slaves and had to maintain them regardless of their output. Wage-

labourers retain their personal liberty and are free, in principle, to choose for whom to
work; hence capitalism involves free exchange rather than coercion. Without alternative
means of subsistence, however, workers must sell their labour-power to one capitalist
or another to survive. In this sense they are ‘wage-slaves’.

Marx claimed that ‘value-added’ (to use modern jargon) is entirely due to labour-power.
Machines, tools, buildings, etc., merely transfer part of their value as they are used up in
production. Individual capitalists may gain above-average profits through innovation or
market fluctuations. But these mechanisms simply redistribute the surplus-value
produced by the working class as a whole. As innovations are adopted by all producers
or as supply and demand are re-equilibrated, these advantages disappear and workers’
productivity and wage costs once again became crucial. In short, considering capitalism
as a whole, only labour-power can add value.

Whether or not labour-power actually does so, however, depends on capital’s ability to
control workers in the labour process. It is not so much the hours workers spend at work
but their productivity that matters. Thus the struggle between capital and labour to
increase productivity (by extending the working day, intensifying effort during this time,
or boosting output through cost-effective labour-saving techniques) is the fundamental
basis of the economic class struggle in capitalism. Class struggle is not simply about
relative shares of the capitalist cake. It is rooted in the organization of production itself
(the labour process) and not just in market relations (including struggles over wages)
and in distribution (including redistribution through the state). It concerns not only the
accumulation of money as capital but also the overall reproduction of capital's
domination of wage-labour in the economy and the wider society.

Marx analysed many different aspects of capitalism from this viewpoint: the nature of
commodities, money, capital, wages, competition, prices, profits, ground-rent, etc.. But
these were all related to the organization of the labour-process as a process of
valorisation or ‘value-adding’. He also defined some fundamental laws rooted in the
commodification of labour-power and its integration into the operation of capitalism.

These laws are do not operate independently of the class struggle and with unbending
necessity. Instead they are tendencies realised in and through the class struggle in
specific conjunctures.

Class as a Social Relation

Marx returned many times to the analysis of class relations and struggles, not only in
the economy but also in politics, religion, the family, morality, and so forth. Yet Marx
never completed a text devoted to class as such and, although his theoretical work and
political action were explicitly developed from a proletarian viewpoint, he wrote little
directly about this class in contrast to the bourgeoisie, landowners, petty bourgeoisie,
peasants, and lumpenproletariat. Moreover, when Marx's Capital was about to discuss
classes in capitalism, there appears the tantalizing sentence: ‘at this point the
manuscript breaks off’.

Marx denied he had discovered classes or class struggle. He did claim credit for
showing that ‘the existence of classes is merely linked to particular historical phases in
the development of production’.3 In particular, Marx identified the secret of capitalist
economic exploitation and why it produced specific forms of class struggle. Only in
capitalism are classes demarcated in terms of relations of production which are
disembedded from broader institutional forms (such as the family or kinship, political
bonds, or religion). In introducing market relations and the cash nexus into all spheres
of society and throughout the world, it overturned the traditional social bonds among
society’s members. Thus social relations in capitalist societies are largely shaped by the
capital-labour relation and the dynamic of accumulation.

The Manifesto presents the clearest statement of this view. It claims that capitalism
creates its own gravediggers by creating the industrial proletariat. As capitalism
consolidates its hold around the globe, non-capitalist classes are eliminated and the
proletariat expands. It is also concentrated in ever-larger numbers as factories and
industrial cities grow in size. As individuals, then groups of workers in a factory or trade,

and, eventually, all workers in a nation-state (even the world economy) mobilise to resist
capitalist exploitation, they grow more conscious of their shared class position and
common interest in overthrowing capitalism. Their economic struggles are resisted by
the state as well as capitalists. The working classes then move on from trade unionism
to party political organisation and more revolutionary consciousness. Communists
should provide intellectual and political leadership here without regard to immediate
party advantage or national differences. As economic conditions worsens and the
proletariat gain strength, revolution will eventually occur. The proletariat will then use
state power to dispossess capital of the means of production and subject the economy
to social control.

The Manifesto has provided the basis for others to construct a sociological theory of
class formation, class consciousness, and political action. It was already said to have
been falsified within fifty years (for example, in the work of Bernstein, a German social
democrat).4 But Marx himself modified this approach in his more scientific works as well
as his more detailed historical analyses of specific political conjunctures. Thus Capital
qualified arguments about the growing polarization of class relations. For Marx indicated
that, as capitalism developed, it would require a growing middle class of clerks,
engineers, managers, accountants, etc.. His historical studies also described several
significant classes or class fractions as well as non-class movements that could play
important historical roles in making or breaking revolutions. Later observation of
democratic experiences in the USA, Britain, and Germany led Marx to suggest that a
parliamentary road to socialism might be possible. Conversely, his studies of Russia
encouraged him to believe that a peasant-based revolution might establish a different
form of communism rooted in surviving social patterns of rural community life.

The State and Politics

Marx’s work on the state and politics are equally fragmented, incomplete, and
inconsistent. Neither he nor Engels provided a coherent theory of the state as an organ
of class domination, of the party as a form of organization, of the strategy and tactics of

revolution (especially whether it must always be violent or could assume a more
parliamentary form), or of the nature of the ‘dictatorship of the proletariat’ and ‘withering
away of the state’ which would supersede the capitalist form of state. Given that their
project was as much political as theoretical, these are surprising and serious omissions.

In simplified terms, Marx and Engels developed two broad views of the state. One sees
it as an instrument of class rule wielded more or less successfully by the economically
dominant class to secure continuing economic exploitation and political control. The
other sees the state as a potentially autonomous authority which could regulate the
class struggle in the public interest or even manipulate it to the private advantage of the
political stratum. The former view is clearly expressed in the Manifesto, the latter is
illustrated in Marx’s analyses of the French state under Louis Bonaparte. Building on
this twofold division, some commentators suggest the first view characterizes more
normal periods of class struggle, the latter ‘exceptional’ periods in which the class
struggle is stalemated and/or can be portrayed as threatening a social catastrophe. This
interpretation has since been applied by Marxists to fascism, military dictatorships, and
the Soviet Union. A third view of the state should be added. Rooted in Marx’s earliest
critiques of Hegel, it was re-worked during subsequent studies and most clearly re-
stated in the light of the regime established by the Paris Commune in 1870. This view is
that the state is always an alienated form of political organization because it is based on
a separation of rulers and ruled. Only when this separation is abolished through self-
organization of society will political alienation disappear.

III. Seeing Things Differently

This section considers two contrasting views on the future of capitalism. If Marxism
tends to privilege the relations of production in explaining the dynamic of capitalism,
some sociologists give more weight to the forces of production. Thus stages in social
development are distinguished not by class relations but by the material basis of
production. Two key historical breaks are identified: the transition from agrarian to
industrial societies; and thence to post-industrialism. Such theorists also argue that,

whereas industrial societies depended on the exploitation of waged labour, post-
industrial growth relies on the production and utilisation of knowledge. Marxists see this
as deeply misleading. An interesting test case is provided by the contrasting predictions
in the 1970s of a Belgian Marxist, Ernest Mandel, and an American sociologist, Daniel
Bell, about the future of capitalist societies. 5 Whereas Mandel forecast that ‘late
capitalism’ would develop on a global scale with increased inequalities and instabilities,
Bell expected the demise of industrial society based on economic exploitation and a
narrow concern with private profit-and-loss in favour of a knowledge-based, post-
industrial society oriented to cooperation and the public interest.

Bell predicted that the economy would change from one largely producing goods to one
that supplyies services as health, education, research and government became
increasingly important activities. The university would replace the business firm as the
core institution. In occupational terms, there would be a decisive shift towards the
professional and technical class—especially scientists and engineers. Organizing
material production would become less important than mastery of theoretical knowledge
for purposive innovation and social control. As such knowledge developed, post-
industrial society would be able to assess its technological needs and plan and control
its technological growth. Market forces would decline in favour of public planning based
on a new ‘intellectual technology’ for rational decision-making. Knowledge would be
freely accessible and could be used to expand leisure for all (Bell 1973).

With hindsight, Bell got many predictions wrong. This is partly because he extrapolated
empirically from the United States as the leading capitalist nation,6 thereby ignoring the
global nature of capital accumulation. Simply because US firms transfer industry abroad
to exploit lower costs and/or new markets but retain headquarters functions at home,
they do not stop being capitalist. Instead they spread the logic of capital more widely.
Indeed, observing today’s world, one finds much to confirm Marx’s predictions that
capitalism entails the destruction of pre-capitalist relations, increasing polarization, a
growing reserve army of labour, and recurrent crises. Bell also erred because he
believed technological development would create a situation where people could

choose between economic exploitation under capitalism and social emancipation in a
planned, learning society. But this ignores capital’s capacity to exploit new technological
developments to reinforce its economic, political, and social control and deprive people
of such a choice. In this sense his views are reminiscent of the Young Hegelians who
believed that a change in social consciousness would be enough to effect the material
transformation of the world.

Some of Mandel’s predictions also proved wrong. But he did explain how profit drives
technological development and how the logic of accumulation shapes the wider society.
For Mandel the multinational firm (not the university) would become the core institution
of late capitalism; and it would be reflected in increasing antagonism between
American, Japanese, and European capitalists. Moreover, whereas Bell took
technological innovation for granted, Mandel employed Marxism to explain its wave-like
development over long periods. This was linked in late capitalism to a great increase in
R&D, the expansion of skilled and intellectual labour, the growth of producer services as
well as the commodification of working class leisure, etc.. Mandel also suggested that
technological progress would become a major theme in late capitalist ideology (a
prediction reflected ideologically in Bell's own work). New forms of global expansion of
capitalism would be reflected in new forms of state intervention as national economies
became more open and competition grew more intense. If his analyses erred in some
respects, it is because he was too committed to the Marxist view that the logic of
capitalism could explain most changes in economic, political, and socio-cultural

A more balanced Marxist analysis should be able to show where both Bell and Mandel
erred. In particular it would reveal that the contradiction between the information society
and information economy is a particular form of the contradiction between the forces
and relations of production. Bell seems to believe that, once knowledge is the principal
force for economic expansion, it could become the property of all and a basis for
democratic control. But capital seems bent on asserting property rights in all forms of
information and knowledge. Thus intellectual property rights have become a key stake

in international conflicts (e.g., with the USA, Bell’s paradigmatic post-industrial society,
leading the fight). Likewise, there is a growing struggle by capital to extend property
rights (and hence the right to private profit) to include the human genome, wild plants,
animals, tribal medicines, outer space, the deep sea, and so on. An interesting case is
the current struggle to commodify the Internet—an anarchic cyberspace originally free
from both government and private economic control and now subject to growing
attempts to censor it and/or turn it into a marketing channel.

IV. Legacies and Unfinished Business

Issues raised by Marx still dominate much sociological enquiry into the nature, history,
overall logic, and future development of capitalism. But the reception of his work is often
ambivalent and politicized. Intellectually, this is due to its richness, complexity, and
discontinuities, the incompleteness of some texts, and the posthumous appearance of
others. Politically, it is due in part to Marx’s critique of capitalism, his support for
socialism, and his confusing advocacy both of democracy and ‘dictatorship of the
proletariat’; and, in part, to the subsequent appropriation of his name (if not always his
ideas) by Marxism-Leninism and its association with Stalinism. However, even where
Marx's actual or alleged ideas provoke disagreement, they often provide major
reference points in social analysis. This is evident from work within the Durkheimian and
Weberian traditions, in functionalist sociology, in arguments about the transition from
industrialism to post-industrialism, and in the development of various post-modern

Marx's standing as a ‘key sociological thinker’ is best linked to his work on the political
economy of capitalism rather than his commitment to the grave-digging role of the
proletariat. In particular his analysis of the commodity form (especially its generalization
to wage labour) is still essential to understanding the dynamic of capitalism. Problems
arise when this critique is applied to the analysis of society as a whole. The central
importance of labour-power and the labour process within capitalism does not mean
that capitalism (even if broadly defined) is necessarily just as central in turn for the

explanation of the dynamic of entire societies. This must surely be something open to
empirical investigation. Indeed there is growing belief among social scientists that no
one system (whether it be the economy, the state, law, religion, or some other system)
can determine the overall logic of societal development or become so powerful that it
can effectively master all forms of resistance. Taken to extremes this can lead into the
morass of a post-modernism where anything goes. More cautiously and carefully
interpreted, however, it provides a basis for studying the complex interdependence and
co-evolution of different institutional orders within the context of an emerging global

Despite the century and a half of continuing debate on Marx’s work, there is still much
unfinished business. If we consider Marx first and foremost as the theorist of the
capitalist mode of production, at least two issues remain contentious. The first is the
‘labour theory of value’, i.e., the view that the value of any commodity is the sum of the
values of the commodities that enter into its production. This allegedly holds for labour-
power itself so that its value depends on the value of the commodities needed to renew
its capacity to labour. This view has few defenders today. For some, the problems are
more empirical, namely, that wages have risen above minimal subsistence levels and
thus have a larger ‘moral and historical component’ and that this view has ignored the
role of unpaid (and typically female) domestic labour in reproducing labour-power. The
role of so-called unproductive labour paid for by the state to provide (until recently) non-
commodified educational, health, and other services also poses a problem for a ‘labour
theory of value’. For others, the problem is more theoretical, namely, that it concludes
from the fact that living labour-power is bought and sold that it must have the same
commodity character as an inert machine. In both regards it is sufficient in any case to
regard labour-power as a fictitious commodity, i.e., as having the external form but not
the real substance of a commodity, to derive most of Marx’s conclusions about the
labour process, capitalist exploitation, class conflict, and the overall logic of capital.

Second, there is increasing recognition that, whilst capitalism may have a distinctive
dynamic, its future remains open. Marx's own detailed analyses of capitalist

development implied nothing inevitable about its rise or demise and the 1859 Preface
emphasized that no mode of production ever ended before its full potential had been
exhausted. Capitalism is not moving inexorably towards some pre-determined
revolutionary crisis (even if its growth dynamic appears to have fundamental ecological
limits) but has shown remarkable regenerative capacities. This is reflected in
competition between different ways of organizing capitalism and of embedding it in
wider social relations. For example, there is a struggle today between Anglo-American,
Continental European, and Confucian capitalisms. Marx’s own work also noted different
paths of development as well as the crucial mediating role of class struggle.

As a theorist of society rather than capitalism, Marx is sometimes accused of seeking to

explain everything in terms of class relations or, worse still, of technological
development; or else of being so vague about the interaction of base and superstructure
that his views are open to almost any interpretation. There is still scope for discussion of
the relative importance in different contexts of class as compared to gender, ethnic,
national, and relations, class consciousness as compared to other identities, and class
struggles as compared to other social movements. Likewise there is much scope for
debate over the relative importance of the capital relation as opposed to technology, the
inter-state system, patriarchy, struggles in civil society, etc., for the future of
contemporary society. In these respects Marx has left us a rich research agenda to be
explored on many levels and in many domains.

V. Further Reading

Three Books by Marx

K. Marx (1844) The Economic and Philosophical Manuscripts
K. Marx and F. Engels (1848) The Manifesto of the Communist Party.
K. Marx (1873) Capital: A Critique of Political Economy, vol. 1

Three Books on Marx

S. Avineri (1968) The Social and Political Thought of Karl Marx, Cambridge: Cambridge
University Press.
D. McLellan (1974) Karl Marx: His Life and Thought, Basingstoke: Macmillan.
G. Kitching (1988) Karl Marx and the Philosophy of Praxis, London: Routledge.

Three Articles by Marx

K. Marx (1845) Concerning Feuerbach [More commonly known as ‘Theses on

K. Marx (1851) The Eighteenth Brumaire of Louis Bonaparte.
K. Marx (1859) Preface to a Contribution to the Critique of Political Economy.

Three Articles on Marx

D.J. Friedman (1974) ‘Marx’s Perspective on the Objective Class Structure’, Polity, 6,
Eric Hobsbawm (1984) ‘Marx and History’, New Left Review, 143, 39-50.
Ralph Miliband (1965) ‘Marx and the State’, Socialist Register 1965, London: Merlin
Press, 278-296.

G. Lichtheim, ‘Historical and Dialectical Materialism’, in Dictionary of History of Ideas,


vol 2., New York: Charles Scribner’s Sons, 1973. G. Therborn, Science, Class and
Society: on the Formation of Sociology and Historical Materialism, London: New Left
Books, 1976.
Karl Marx, ‘Preface (to A Contribution to the Critique of Political Economy)’ (1859).
Karl Marx, Letter to Weydemeyer, March 5, 1852.
Eduard Bernstein (1961), Evolutionary socialism: a criticism and affirmation, New
York: Schocken (originally published in German in 1899).


Ernest Mandel (1975) Late Capitalism, London: New Left Books (first published in
German, 1972). Daniel Bell (1973) The Coming of Post-Industrial Society, London:
Marx did not simply extrapolate from trends in England; he used them to illustrate
claims grounded in a more fundamental theoretical critique of capitalism.


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