The Poulantzas Reader: Marxism, Law and the State
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Nicos Poulantzas was one of the leading Marxist theorists of the twentieth century, developing seminal analyses of the state and social classes during the crisis of monopoly capitalism. This volume brings together a wide selection of Poulantzas’ key writings in legal philosophy and political sociology, including some important pieces translated here for the first time. Texts include his early analyses of law, his studies of hegemony, authoritarianism, and social classes, and his debate on the state with Ralph Miliband and Ernesto Laclau.
An essential introduction for the scholar and the student to a body of work that continues to reverberate across the social sciences.
Ultimately, that self-determination is dependent on the arbitrariness of the philosopher's thought. There is no better example of this than those peaks of Hegelianism, the Elements of the Philosophy of Right and the Logic, in whose light the concrete historical analyses contained in the Phenomenology of Spirit must be interpreted. The reaction to Hegel's idealist dialectic found expression in the so called left Hegelians with Feuerbach, Ruge, and the writings of the young Marx. Feuerbach, for
expanded repr0duction and generalized commodity exchange, we observe a process of privatization and autonomization of men as producers. Natural hu man relations, founded on a hierarchy involving the socio-economic subordination of producers (witness slave and feudal states) , are replaced by 'social' relations between 'autonomized' individuals, located in the exchange process. Marx and Lenin underscore this evolution of natural relations into social relations, the autonomization of individuals
context of monopolistic concentration. And here we should possibly stress the crucial 'ideological' phenomenon that occurs in connection with neo-capitalist theories of the state, which presuppose the basic theoretical coordinates of the 'functionalist' current. Because of the monopolistic concentration of capital on the one hand, and STUDY OF HEGEMONY I N THE STATE 91 the progressive socialization of the productive forces on the other i.e. because of the concrete form currently taken by the
social formation; the notion of the 'backward' or 'advanced' character of certain levels with respect to the 'economic'; and so on. The process 146 THE POULANTZAS READER of the 'development of forms', t o which Marx referred, i s character ized by a differential historical temporality, peculiar to different social formations and their different levels, depending on the particular 'matrix' of each formation. This matrix, disclosed by theoretical practice, defines the particular mode of
relations, they do not make it possible to fix one that accounts for the differential specificity of the concepts in question. Hence the consequences to which they lead: for Sartre, a primacy of history such that it appears to absorb the TOWARDS A MARXIST THEORY 149 specificity of structures; for Levi-Strauss, a primacy of structure such that it seems to absorb the specificity of history. The mutual exclu siveness of these two lines of thought is perhaps merely the expression of an