Marx and the Politics of Abstraction (Studies in Critical Social Sciences)

Marx and the Politics of Abstraction (Studies in Critical Social Sciences)

Paul Paolucci

Language: English

Pages: 239

ISBN: 1608462099

Format: PDF / Kindle (mobi) / ePub


Many scholars see science and politics as mutually exclusive, where the latter's influence contaminates the former's purity. Karl Marx's detractors often criticize him on these grounds. Paolucci shows that through his method of critique, Marx incorporates the relations of knowledge and power into abstractions and traces their historical movement. This corrective more readily lays bare capitalist society’s exploitative nature.

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appear to the individual actors actually involved— even if the events in question occur over and over again—cannot be the basis for our understanding of the whole. There is, in short, a big difference between Appearance and Essence” (Lebowitz 2009: 7). 2 inquiry and abstraction 57 For Marx, on the other hand, something lurks behind these appearances. There is something else there we might not readily see, something that accounts for them. In fact, upon inspection, this “something else there”

activities in its announcement of class struggle as a historic-analytical variable and as an object of political discourse. In Class Struggles in France (1848–1850) and The Eighteenth Brumaire (1851–1852 / 1869), Marx sharpens his historical research skills while mobilizing class analysis as a methodological tool, demonstrating his socio-historical sensibilities, which return with The Civil War in France (Marx 1870–1871). In between, he writes A Contribution to the Critique of Political Economy,

liberals share. Further, liberals and conservatives of all institutionalized faiths share the implicit teleological premise that (a divine?) metaphysic is at work in weeding out heretics, defeating competing doctrines, and excluding the various cults and sects that once thrived, a teleology of self-direction. If “debate” leads to better Truth, however, then that truth does not exist in a metaphysical netherworld but is a human product. If this is the case, then there is no basis for any religious

ties with other groups. In pastoral societies, cattle or even carved stones are sometimes a main medium of exchange, where some gifts offered in smaller tribes will not suffice. In mass agriculture (e.g., Rome, feudal Europe), though forms of barter may still exist, metallic coins (with images of leaders stamped on them) evolved as a form of exchange alongside the acceptance of cattle or other products as forms of tribute. Here, the quality of the metal—purity and weight—established, in part, the

how commonly held, is misguided. These views mirror forms of thought Marx criticized, are out of line with those with which he aligned himself, and conflict with his statements on method and history elsewhere. To avoid leaving this claim at the level of assertion, I want to show three things. First, Marx’s understanding of the causal powers of 18 Also see Postone (2004, 2005). teleology and dialectic 161 material forces was not metaphysical or invariable. Second, his Preface does not

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