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Post-Marxism (not to be confused with post-modern Marxism) is a trend in political philosophy and social theory, which deconstructs Karl Marx's writings and Marxism proper, bypassing orthodox Marxism. The term 'post-Marxism' first appeared in Ernesto Laclau and Chantal Mouffe's theoretical work, Hegemony and Socialist Strategy. It can be said that Post-Marxism, as a political theory, was developed at the University of Essex, UK by Laclau and Mouffe. Philosophically, post-Marxism counters derivationism and essentialism (for example, it does not see economy as a foundation of politics and the State as an instrument that "functions" unambiguously and autonomously on behalf of the interests of a given class).[1] Recent overviews of post-Marxism are provided by Ernesto Screpanti,[2] Göran Therborn,[3] and Gregory Meyerson.[4]


Post-Marxism dates from the late 1960s; several trends and events of that period influenced its development. The weakness of the Communist Soviet paradigm became evident and Marxism faced a 'lack' since the Second International. This happened concurrently with the occurrence internationally of the student riots of 1968, the rise of Maoist theory, and the proliferation of commercial television, which covered in its broadcasts the Vietnam War. Subsequently, Laclau and Mouffe address the proliferation of 'new subject positions' by locating their analysis on a Post-Marxist non-essentialist framework.

Semiology and discourse[edit]

When Roland Barthes began his sustained critique of mass culture via semiology—the science of signs—and the book Mythologies, some Marxist philosophers based their social criticism upon linguistics, semiotics, and discourse. Basing his approach on Barthes' work, Baudrillard wrote For a Critique of the Political Economy of the Sign (1972), criticizing contemporary Marxism for ignoring the sign value of its philosophic discourse.

Important post-Marxists[edit]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Iain Mclean & Alistair Mcmillan, The Concise Oxford Dictionary of Politics (Article: State), Oxford University Press, 2003
  2. ^ "The Postmodern Crisis in Economics and the Revolution against Modernism", “Rethinking Marxism”, 2000
  3. ^ From Marxism to Post-Marxism. London: Verso, 2008, 208pp.
  4. ^ Meyerson, G. (2009). Post-Marxism as Compromise Formation. Retrieved from:
  5. ^ Simon Tormey and Jules Townshend. Key Thinkers from Critical Theory to Post-Marxism. London: Sage Publications. 2006, pp. 13–37.


  • Imanol Galfarsoro: "(Post)Marxismoa, kultura eta eragiletasuna: Ibilbide historiko labur bat" in Alaitz Aizpuru(koord.), Euskal Herriko pentsamenduaren gida, Bilbo, UEU 2012. ISBN 978-84-8438-435-9
  • Simon Tormey & Jules Townshend, Key Thinkers from Critical Theory to Post-Marxism, Pine Forge Press, 2006.
  • Sim, Stuart. Post-Marxism: An Intellectual History, Routledge, 2002.
  • Shenfield, Stephen. Vladislav Bugera: Portrait of a Post-Marxist Thinker
  • el-Ojeili, Chamsy. Post-Marxism with Substance: Castoriadis and the Autonomy Project, in New Political Science, 32:2, June 2001, pp. 225–239.
  • el-Ojeili C. After post-socialism: Social theory, utopia and the work of castoriadis in a global age, Antepodium: Online Journal of World Affairs (2011), pp. 1–16.

External links[edit]