Political Marxism

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Political Marxism (PM) is a strand of Marxist theory that places history at the centre of its analysis. It was developed as a reaction against ahistorical models of Marxist analysis in the debate on the origins of capitalism. The PM critique brought social agency and class conflict to the center of Marxism. In this context, Robert Brenner and Ellen Wood founded PM as a distinct approach to rehistoricise and repoliticise the Marxist project. It was a movement away from structuralist and timeless accounts towards historical specificity as contested process and lived praxis.

This research programme has expanded across the social sciences to include the fields of history, political theory, political economy, sociology, international relations and international political economy.[1]

Researchers linked with PM today include Benno Teschke,[2] Hannes Lacher [3] and George Comninel.[4]


  1. ^ Political Marxism and the Social Sciences
  2. ^ See: Benno Teschke (2003). The Myth of 1648: Class, Geopolitics and the Making of Modern International Relations. London and New York: Verso.
  3. ^ See: Hannes Lacher (2006). Beyond Globalization: Capitalism, Territoriality and the International Relations of Modernity. London and New York: Routledge.
  4. ^ See: Comninel, G. (2000) English Feudalism and the Origins of Capitalism. The Journal of Peasant Studies, 27 (4), pp. 1- 53
    Comninel, G (1990 [1987]) Rethinking the French Revolution. London and New York: Verso.

Further reading[edit]

  • By Robert Brenner:
(1976) 'Agrarian Class Structures and Economic Development in Pre-Industrial Europe'. Past & Present, 70, (February 1976), pp. 30-75.
(1977) 'The Origins of Capitalist Development: A Critique of Neo-Smithian Marxism'. New Left Review, I/104. pp. 25-92.
(1995 [1982]) 'The Agrarian Roots of European Capitalism' in Aston, T.H. and C.H.E. Philpin (eds.) The Brenner Debate: Agrarian Class Structure and Economic Development in Pre-Industrial Europe. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. pp. 213-327. Originally published (1982). ’The Agrarian Roots of European Capitalism’, Past & Present, 97, November, pp. 16-113.
  • By Ellen Meiksins Wood:
(1991) The Pristine Culture of Capitalism: An Historical Essay on Old Regimes and Modern States. London and New York: Verso.
(1995) Democracy Against Capitalism: Renewing Historical Materialism. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.
(2002 [1999]) The Origin of Capitalism: A Longer View. London and New York: Verso.
(2008) Citizens to Lords. A Social History of Western Political Thought From Antiquity to the Middle Ages. London and New York: Verso.

External links[edit]