Figgis and H. Paul Q. First published in First published in , this book investigates the various pre-capitalist modes of production briefly indicated in the works of Marx and Engels, and gives an examination of the conditions of the transition from one mode of production to another. The fundamental concepts used in these investigations, including those of mode of production, of necessary labour and surpass labour, of politics and state, are derived from Capital and from other works of Marxist theory. The primary aim of the analysis is to raise the conceptualisation of pre-capitalist modes of production and of transition to a more rigorous level.
This book will appear controversial to both Marxists and non-Marxists alike. Tony Cutler. This volume is concerned with the re-evaluation and criticism of Capital itself. It is in three parts, each covering a specific area of Marxist theory. Finally there is an analysis of the role of class structure and economic agents in Marxist theory.
Law, Socialism and Democracy. Book 9. This book explores the political and legal institutions necessary for a democratic socialism in advanced industrial societies. Reflection begins post festum, and therefore with the results of the process of development ready to hand. The forms which stamp products as commodities and which are therefore the preliminary.
Consequently, it was solely the analysis of the prices of commodities which led to the determination of the magnitude of value, and solely the common expression of all commodities in money which led to the establishment of their character as values. It is however precisely this finished form of the world of commodities — the money form — which conceals the social character of private labour and the social relations between the individual workers, by making those relations appear as relations between material objects, instead of revealing them plainly" Analysis of value therefore gives Marx's thought its force as critique.
It led him to show, beneath the appearances at which most researchers stop, a profound reality, that of relations between the classes, the essence of phenomena one cannot otherwise reach. Marx conducted his analysis of the commodities form and the money form in the abstract At the end of his procedure he considered that he had come back to concrete reality. But does his argument have the universal implications he assumed it to have? Is there not, beyond the unadorned principles on which his reasoning was based, a whole historical and geographical background which he first had to explore before he discovered the logic of it through the detour of the thought concrete?
In order for men to experience the need to have a general equivalent at their disposal, they have to discover the advantages of division of labour and of exchange - which they have only done in certain historical circumstances, when transportation techniques have been efficient enough for costs not to be prohibitive even over short distances. It is essential in order for the money form to become the major form, that society should have reached a level where the problem arises of economic adjustment in time — society.
The money form is not the result of a simple logical transformation: it is the fruit of a whole economic transformation. Marx was the first to recognise this, since he pointed out that the route followed to reconstitute the concrete mentally is not that of the real concrete 37 , but he immediately forgot this and in all his later arguments retained only the abstract form.
He insisted on this because it enabled him to denounce the fetishism of vulgar consciousness, that of most economists too, and to offer a radically different interpretation from all those which had preceded his. In so doing however, Marx remained silent about -the series of processes which take place in space and time; he did away with the spatial dimension The emergence of relation economy implies the perfecting of a universal language — that of the money form, whose logic Marx emphasized - but cannot be conceived of outside the spatial framework which makes it both advantageous and difficult.
Once the analysis of the genesis of the commercial form and of the money form is accepted, any true history and any true geography become pointless: abstract patterns contain, obscured and hidden, a certain arrangement of facts in space and in time. Thanks to these we have valid models for each particular situation: everything can easily be connected to the general framework. Science is unfortunately eliminated in this process: geography and history are no more than an infinitely monotonous repetition of the same themes.
We could almost say that the researcher ends up fearing novelty because it might force him to leave the safe and cosy intellectual niche in which orthodox marxism has placed him. Marx's polemical arguments should not be taken lightly. When he attacks Utopian Socialists, he is really attacking people who are open to spatial problems and anxious to. While the method constructed by Marx does not, among the human sciences, do too much damage, to economics, it does deprive scientific history and geography of meaning. What, in Althusser's eyes, passes for the epistemological break which lays the foundations of the History-Continent of human knowledge, is in fact merely a cover-up operation which destroys the outstanding privilege of the experimental approach and substitutes for it an abstract development of ideas whose aim is to define the profound essence of reality.
What does this approach lead to? Joan Robinson notes what Marx gets out of the perfectly pointless use of the notion of value: "But the terminology which Marx employs is important because of its suggestive power Marx was very much alive to the importance of suggestion. He shows how even an algebraical formula is not innocent of political implications Marx's method of treating profit as "unpaid labour", and the whole apparatus of constant and variable capital and the rate of exploitation, keep insistently before the mind of the reader a picture of the capitalist process as a system of piracy, preying upon the very life of the workers.
His terminology derives its force from the moral indignation with which it is saturated" The introduction of the notion of labour-value has brought Marx back to the substantialist thought whose totalitarian tendencies are so well known: they have been abundantly emphasized by Karl Popper 40 , who reminds us of the eminent position held by Hegelian dialectics in the emergence of modern forms of substantialism. It was by "putting Hegelian dialectic on its head again" that Marx discovered the secret of his method, that he effected the epistemological break Althusser talks about 41 , and that.
The logic of Marx's work and the elimination of space. Nevertheless it took almost a quarter of a century for his reflexion to reach this point.
So, from Capital, where Marx's demonstration, in his own view, has the rigour which is fundamental to all science, we find ourselves once more referred back to his previous approach. The important elements of his system of thought were established with remarkable rapidity, in a matter of some three of four years, from to Initially Marx was steeped in the young-Hegelian atmosphere which rapidly developed after the early publications of Strauss, and which broke with the hitherto dominant conservatism of German political and philosophical thought Marx, however, was dissatisfied with the direction taken by his fellows in the struggle: he shared their desire to shake Germany out of its lethargy, to make up for the fact that his country was far behind England and France in the economic field, but he had no confidence in the methods chosen to reach these ends.
A struggle which took place solely in the religious arena appeared to him to miss altogether the fundamental problems of social reality. The German Ideology denounces precisely those illusions which for a while he had shared and which were the illusions of a whole generation, a whole era; did it not, by criticising the French or English models of progress, attempt to make up on the plane of ideas for the fact that it was really lagging very far behind 44? Feuerbach's work was a revelation for young Marx The Spirit of Christianity, published in , the Principles of the Phibsophy of the Future, which followed in , and The Essence of Religion, in , offered a remarkably new interpretation of Hegel.
Until then all his followers, whether left- or right-wing, had remained faithful to the fundamental dialectical scheme which saw in history the movement of Ideas: Ideas are alienated both in nature and in history, and it is the dialectical movement of evolution which brings them gradually back to unity when, at the end of history, the absolute Idea is fully achieved both in nature and among mankind.
Feuerbach retained the Hegelian movement, the dialectic of alienation and of unity regained, but he had already reversed the pattern; Ideas no longer came first. Fundamental reality, for him, was on the side of man; he broke with his predecessors' idealism and gave an outline of the first materialistic philosophy of nineteenth century Germany. It is humanity which alienates itself by becoming religious: by adopting fantastic ideas, by acquiring a false consciousness, man works his own downfall, forgets his substance, his true nature. The dialectical movement of history remains but changes directions.
Its purpose is not to allow the idea to coincide with itself but to give back to man his true nature, to restore the generic being which religion forbids him to be. The interpretation of Hegel proposed by Feuerbach was undeniably attractive to a young radical driven by a desire to act and to change the world Indeed it offered in the same construction a reading of the world and of history, and a justification for action, for generous action motivated by the pursuit of happiness and the fulfilment of a social being complete at last Hegelian ideologies had almost always led so far to political cynicism.
They had demonstrated their conservative potential — had they not served to justify officially the absolutism of the Prussian monarchy? Hegel was now reconciled with the political philosophers of the 18th century: he was not used simply to justify the work of geniuses who, like Napoleon, brought forth new worlds amidst sorrow and violence. The hopes and desire for progress of the French Revolutionaries were being revived;.
It is easy to understand Marx's enthusiastic acceptance of such ideas: they proposed a system which corresponded to his own deep-rooted ideology, to take up Maxime Rodinson's own words in his interpretation of Marx's works It was thanks to the inspiration of Feuerbach that Marx began to suspect what kept German ideology locked inside the sphere of illusion, but in order to understand it fully he had to go beyond Feuerbach.
It was in about that Marx's thought became more clearly defined 47 by using the criticism of Feuerbach as a support. The reversal movement which Feuerbach had undertaken needed to be pursued and completed. To create a basis for revolutionary action, a more deeply materialistic philosophy was needed than that of The Essence of Christianity. Why restrict the analysis of man to that of his ideas?
Why neglect his material reality and the sphere of intentional actions through which nature is gradually transformed and subjected? Why put theory before praxis? This is the reversal Marx proposed The materialism. It made man a complex construction, a series of states which condition each other and which are ultimately dependent on fundamental material circumstances, though this does not make the higher sphere of conscious thought any less significant. One point should be noted particularly: the mind cannot apprehend the true nature of the world directly, by a sort of direct intuition, as this true nature does not belong to the realm of ideas but to that of matter.
The mind is capable, as we have seen, of reconstructing the truth, of attaining to it through the dialectical movement of critical negation and synthesis, but it only attains it as result of an effort to surpass itself and only when the objective conditions of the world are such that reality has become decipherable in them 49 ; thought remains in fact the slave of matter; it is so first of all when it allows itself to be taken in by the illusion of ideology; it remains so when it undertakes to criticise illusions because it succeeds only insofar as the world has become decipherable — something which was happening for the first time in history.
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Starting from these fundamental themes, Marx was able to put forward a pattern of man, society and history which is analogous to Feuerbach's but with a different content; man's deepest reality is to be found in matter and in deliberate activities, in praxis, through which he gradually. The sphere of ideas is not independent, it is governed by that of fundamental productive activities: it does not directly reflect what happens there but deforms and transforms it so as to induce men to accomplish what is necessary at a particular moment in world history; the relations between men thus appear curiously reified in the mirror held up to them by ideology Alienation is distinguished, as in Feuerbach, by the fantasy of ideas, but these are not those which, in the abstract, concern man's profound nature; they are the ideas which enable him to grasp his own real material and social being Marx has retained from Feuerbach a fundamental feature, which provides the link that makes his philosophy into a dynamic system: by indicating that man is capable of conquering his own unity, and reaching self-fulfilment by transforming the world and himself, the system, which is built upon a critical basis, transforms itself into a normative system.
This, as Maxime Rodinson quite rightly demonstrates 52 , explains why Marxist thought needs no explicit ethics, although it is fundamentally preoccupied by the choice of norms as is evidenced by its concern with praxis and with deliberate action. It also explains why the meaning of this praxis is so frequently misconstrued: if one does not situate Marx in the general current of German philosophy, or understand the contribution of Kant and the fact that the old Aristotelian notion of praxis is being resumed, it is easy to confuse practice and technical action.
In France this had almost invariably been the case until the last thirty years. Nor has this oversimplifying temptation spared other countries, in the Anglo-Saxon world or the Soviet Union. It is perhaps in the German world that the philosophical dimension of Marxist thought has remained most perceptible and has been soonest reactivated — one example being the work of the Frankfurt School. In transforming Feuerbach's philosophical system Marx retained the fact that it was a closed system, from which originated its dynamism and the integration of ethics into the interpretation of the world — while at the same time this transformation brought innovations, since the whole construction is built on man, without resorting to metaphysical presuppositions.
It was in his early works that Marx expressed his most attractive ideas, those which account for his being still relevant. For all those who try to understand the formation of man and follow his psychological evolution, or to retrace the history of his thought, the idea of a gradual self- creation through a continual effort to attain control over oneself through a transformation whose source is one with the transformed object, such an idea is perfectly acceptable and Marxist interpretation is definitely valid.
Let me simply mention Piaget 53 who, at the end of a lifetime devoted to the study of genetic epistemology, discovered that his pattern of the gradual organisation of man through his activities was similar to that of Marx! For modern research into the history of science too 54 , the relevance of Marx's philosophy is beyond doubt as long as one does not attempt to transform it dogmatically and draw totalitarian principles from it.
These totalitarian principles are however present from the beginning in Marx's philosophical construction: all those who set themselves other goals than the pursuit of man's self-fulfilment in a final reconciliation with himself, remain. There is no truth outside the proposed pattern, there are no values which can be opposed to it, no authorities which can be made to support other statements: individual conscience is no longer the supreme arbiter of truth and goodness, because it is often the slave of ideological illusions.
Individual protest cannot be entertained against the blinding proof of the new faith in humanity. The system, being closed on itself, condemns all those who seek to resist it by revealing their alienation and disqualifying them Is Marx's proposed demonstration fully convincing? Of course not: it contains a logical fault of which Marx was aware: which is why he devoted himself during the 20 years in which he worked on Capital to the task which consisted in eliminating that fault.
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In his early writings, his interpretation of the world was presented in philosophical terms and was not yet supported by scientific enquiry of a modern type. What is there then to guarantee that the interpretation offered is not still bound by ideology 56? Is it not simply the reflection of a necessary step in the dialectic of the world, and therefore just as fallacious as other ideologies?
For a rigorous thinker, the system is not yet complete. To escape from the magic circle of fantasy, a method of reasoning had to be found which would guarantee direct access to the truth. In the first quarter of the nineteenth century, science alone seemed capable of guaranteeing such a hold on the absolute. The difficulty in this domain came from the orientation taken by reformers' thinking in.
It explained behaviour but by the same token laid the foundations of the practices of the liberal State and of competitive capitalist economy 57 : the human sciences, at the end of the 18th century, were marked by such deep ambiguity that even those who practised them were unaware of it. None were more alienated than politologists or economists — and it had to be so for bourgeois society to be sure of its basis The weaknesses of the social sciences, in the same way as natural law and classic economics, had to do with their philosophical presuppositions and their rational basis, which allowed them to claim universality and to put themselves forward as general models, whereas they really only supplied information about a narrow section of the whole range of possible social behaviour.
The Marxists, particularly Max Horkheimer 59 , long insisted on the singular dialectic of classical reason; people like MacPherson 60 devoted themselves to bringing out the economic ulterior motives of the founders of political liberalism. These criticisms already appear in Marx. He was the first to understand the ideological aspect of classical thinking. There were, in the analysis of the theory of labour value conceived in the manner of Ricardo, the elements of a rigorous critique of the liberal system; this is what Joan Robinson 61 and many contemporary economists often point out, and this is what explains the vogue of the great.
Marx could have stopped there and taken advantage of this analysis to demonstrate the arbitrary and conventional nature of the distribution of income, thus undermining the claims of those in possession of capital Bringing his analysis to a close at this stage could not possibly have satisfied him however because it would not have enabled him to found his economic analysis on an absolutely certain basis and given him access to the absolute which alone could transform his philosophical system from an ideological into a "scientific" system It is by an effort at making the essence of value into an abstraction 62 , by reasoning on the dialectic of use value and exchange value that Marx thought he had succeeded.
It is here that the "epistemological break" he needed occurred — but it is also here that his work separated itself from true science and became a dogmatic construction unrelated to facts: his anxiety to give his system a definitive basis led Marx to commit an error as serious as that which his criticism denounced, following in the steps of Kant, Fichte and Hegel, in the political and economic thinking of rationalist 18th century.
Because of his yearning for certainty he accepted a mode of reasoning on the essence of value which cannot stand up against reality and makes his reflexion a system deprived of empirical confirmation. On the scientific plane the cost was high: Marx found himself constrained to obscure the radically new things which might be revealed by space and time.
Marx's science developed in a time where all contributions had already been listed or were foreseeable and in a space which could be included in a theory which ignored extension. That the operation whereby Marx hoped to base his system on unassailable foundations presents the man of science with difficulties, is nowhere better shown than in Louis Althusser's praiseworthy attempt 63 to bolster up the Marxist approach with all the authority of modern scientific epistemology.
It is for this reason that he appeals to Bachelard for help and makes the theme of the epistemological break the outstanding sign of a genuinely scientific system. This is why Althusser throws himself into an ambiguous intellectual operation whose doubtful. How can we explain this singular desire to salvage what appears to the unbiased observer to be the least valid part of Marxist reflexion?
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The fact is that, without this false demonstration of the scientific nature of the whole edifice, Marxist thought loses its totalitarian nature and ceases to constitute in the hands of those who have adopted it an incomparable instrument of organisation and action, in structuring the masses and dominating consciences. Stalinian interpretations are not an unforeseeable deviation from Marxist thought: they were an orthodox manifestation of it, as Althusser repeatedly demonstrates, Althusser who was late in becoming the theoretician of a system universally denounced but whose logic continues to influence the world The existence of a body of theoretical thought is what enables the leadership of the Party which practises "democratic centralism" to fight whatever danger grass-root spontaneity may represent for the triumph of the cause.
The critical intention and the refutation of the power of thought when isolated and detached from economic and social bases, these are what gives the party's leadership authority to maintain its pre-eminence over philosophers and scholars Ultimately, the only ones who can accede without risk of error to the truth of Marxism are those who assume the responsibilities of power and who, through their praxis, find themselves constrained to model their thoughts on real problems. This is what, in an orthodox Marxist society, makes any politician into a philosopher and a man of science.
If he does not care to demonstrate this himself, there are enough intellectuals around him who are prepared to do it for him! Space and Marx's legacy. That Marxist thought in the social sciences should thus have come to a standstill is no fortuitous occurrence. Provided that one is able to avoid all sorts of right-wing deviationisms, linked with positivism, which make thought the vassal of a bourgeois conception of science, as well as left-wing deviationisms which insist on all critical aspects and readily sacrifice scientific pretensions to a more critical type of philosophy, one remains inside a system in which remaining loyal at all cost to scientific orthodoxy makes it difficult to carry out free inquiries in the field of history, of geography, sociology, anthropology or political science.
This of course does not prevent Marxist scholars from doing useful work but their principles are most often of very little visible assistance. These principles usually lead them to selecting fields in which conflicts with orthodox thought are easily avoided: the craze for quantitative methods, for systemic analysis, for certain modes of structural analysis can be explained by this. What contribution can, and does, all this reflection bring to geography, when it only stirs up Marxist themes again and again, recombining them, adding to them, grafting them upon the corresponding themes of Freudianism or linguistics?
What can possibly be added to the knowledge of space by all those systems which place the infirmity of human consciousness in the forefront and devote themselves to demonstrating the influence of the unconscious in all its forms? A lot more than was the case a few years ago, thanks to the new anxieties which have rejuvenated Marxist thought.
Contemporary developments in marxist thought and space. Despite the limits imposed on it by the logic of Capital, the contribution of Marxist thought to our knowledge of space is considerable. For a long time it was limited by the naturalistic prejudice of most geographers. For one who in studying distribution hardly envisages any other influence than that of the physical environment, Marxian has link to offer beyond a dialectical interpretation of the relations between man and nature. This in itself is far from negligible, as Soviet work on the science of landscapes proves, but it does not lead to an intimate understanding of the spatial configuration of societies.
In order for this to be made perfectly clear one has to go into the social and economic aspects of Marx's thought. Some attempts are being made to this end, in three different directions: that of. The theoretical contribution of Marxism to knowledge of space. Marxist geography is discovering the interest of theoretical reflection. In eastern-bloc countries they are seeking to put to use the theory of productive forces' territorial complexes after the manner of Aleksandrov, Baransky and Kolosovsky In doing so, analysis of the division of labour is placed at the forefront of the principles of location As long as it was a matter of understanding the organisation of national space, the approach remained fairly simple.
In the context of the large socialist space constituted by COMECON, the situation is quite different, and this stimulates reflection Soviet geographers are thus rediscovering in Marx what Marx took from Ac classical economists, Smith or Ricardo.
Paradoxically enough, they are embarrassed about using the rest of his theoretical apparatus, which describes a system dominated by class struggle; the division of labour which should develop in a socialist world is completely different: this undoubtedly explains the lack of boldness of eastern-bloc theoreticians who can find no specific indications in Marx to guide them in their difficult attempt to create a new spatial order.
Soviet geography today exercises a noticeable influence over Italian geography 70 — translations, particularly of. Saushkin's work 71 , have a lot to do with this. As much importance is attached to the study of the division of labour as in eastern-bloc countries. But the whole structure has additional features which can only be applied to the analysis of capitalist countries. Class struggle has spatial aspects which should be clarified: class-consciousness develops more rapidly in certain atmospheres than in others; it often takes the form of tension between town and country, or between the industrialised regions of the north and the underdeveloped areas of the south.
Young scholars, particularly in Turin 72 , are attempting to make the basic categories of Marxist analysis into a tool to be used systematically: they are insisting on the necessity for geographers to use the notions of surplus-value, profit and concentration. The logic of capitalism is that of accumulation: it is easy to exploit this theme by giving it a geographical dimension The analysis of its externalities, to which the liberal theory has attached more and more importance over the last generation, can be taken up from this perspective.
The growth of big cities is explained in this way. Concentration also takes the form of the internationalisation of capital, with the emergence of multinational firms. Marxist theory obtains approximately the same results as liberal thinking, but it does not make it clear why accumulation, after taking the form of geographical concentration of investments, today leads to their being dispersed throughout the developed world and part of the under-developed world.
In order to give Marxist theory a spatial dimension, research has to be carried further. Italian geographers are doing this by insisting that space is a product of groups In this they agree with most of their French colleagues — the influence of Henri Lefebvre 75 can be seen in both countries. All geographers are prepared to admit that the space in which the life of a group is lived is the result of arrangements for which man is responsible. They agree to talk about production of space, but they do not include in this expression the idea of creation of space out of nothing: man's environment gradually becomes more and more artificial, but the natural elements never disappear from it.
Most Marxist geographers go further than this: in their opinion there can be no space which has not been produced Their position is a logical one; it is the only one which is compatible with their orthodoxy.
If space is produced one cannot in fact understand it except if considered from its starting point, that is, society: any interpretation of the spatial configuration of societies is therefore implicitly contained in the genesis of the commodities form and the money form, according to the fundamental scheme of Book I of Capital.
Space is thus not a fundamental category of the theory, but modem Marxist thought manages to apprehend it in two ways. In some cases space is obviously a commodity to which one can apply everything Marx has said about production, of the tendency towards concentration and of the influence of entrepreneurs in determining demand.
The subject of towns is one to which Marxist thought finds itself particularly relevant. Until the Second World War, construction in most industrial countries remained a comparatively backward sector, very close in its structures to the small-scale industry of former times. Over the past 20 years industrialisation has made decisive progress. On the European continent, construction of housing is more and more frequently on a large scale; in English-speaking countries, this has been so for much longer, although the concentration of building has not at all taken the same form as in France or Italy for example.
Marxist geography and sociology Manuel Castells 77 , for instance, has done more than most geographers to bring some new life into this field; in the English-speaking world, David Harvey 78 has encouraged geographers' initiatives emphasize the conditions in which space produced in the large towns of the modern world bear more and more visibly the marks of advanced capitalism They insist on the role of monopolistic forces, on the collusion between private and public interests, and the intervention of State capitalism.
A study of advertising leads them to underlining the fact that demand is conditioned by supply. Some have tried to go further: in Marx and in Engels 80 there is a reflexion on land rent and its role in capitalism. Specialists in the value of land are trying to bring this analysis up to date They have introduced, in sociology and economics in the French-speaking world, the concept of an absolute rent which is supposed to constitute one of the forms of exploitation linked to monopolies in advanced industrial countries, but in all serious research work the same idea is to be found that this is an exceptional situation connected with particular historical circumstances.
The Marxist analysis of land markets it useful to the understanding of segregation and of contrasts in the social geography of big cities. It has not led, in spite of what. There is another way of approaching space while remaining faithful to the basic Marxist system which originally eliminates it: as early as The German Ideology 83 , Marx described the exploitation of neighbouring countries by those nations which are becoming industrialised, but this idea underwent changes.
It was very much in favour at the turn of the century, when J. Hobson's book 84 made imperialism fashionable. Rosa Luxembourg 85 and Lenin 86 took an interest in the theme. After this it ceased to be studied for thirty years or so. Since or it has been central to the interpretations Marxists put forward when they are considering the reasons for unequality of development The simplest interpretation of the world's present situation consists in seeing it from a geographical point of view, in terms of a division into rich and poor nations, which could be a form, on the world-wide scale, of the struggle between classes, the latter now being constituted of countries; the centre vs.
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Good Marxist theoreticians are responsive to this criticism. They also mistrust an interpretation which places a considerable share of responsibility for unequal development. Emmanuel's book about unequal exchange are evidence of this. Present ideas about under-development are more subtle but in common with those just mentioned they introduce space in the form of a group of areas differentiated by their levels of development The development-of-underdevelopment theory 89 is only indirectly a spatial one; it is basically a historical pattern, that of the co-existence of formations of different ages.
Space only exists because it is marked by different times: it is apprehended solely through its socio- economic content and the roles of distance and natural characteristics are ignored. The theory of the development of underdevelopment can take two symmetrical forms. For A. Frank 90 , the emphasis is on the overproduction inherent in the capitalist system, which can only protect itself against crisis by exporting capital and goods. The genesis of underdevelopment is thus linked to the circulation of surplus-value. For authors such as Laclau 91 , the emphasis is placed rather on the direct pursuit of a high surplus-value through over-exploitation of the natural and human resources of the Third World.
The two theories are not, in any case, mutually exclusive. Recent work 92 often combines them: the development of under-development in peripheral areas — whether they be the deprived areas of large states, or poor countries — expresses both the desire on the part of the centre to secure new markets so as not to suffer from over-production, and its anxiety to maintain high profits by creating modernised enclaves in peripheral areas where population pressure keeps salaries down. In the case of the. Many geographers, sociologists and economists of a Marxist turn of mind, when reflecting on the question of space, take a more qualified view.
They talk about the production of space, and make use of this idea to explain, for example, the congestion of big cities in the modern world, but they recognise that social space is made up, in most societies, of elements only slightly transformed by man. Space for them can no longer be reduced to the restrictive structures of Book I of Capital. Such is the position of Henri Lefebvre Many scholars are studying the relative effect of different forces.
They do not deny the overriding influence of infrastructures, but they are interested in superstructures. They look for social or political interpretations. The ideas of Herbert Marcuse 94 and Jurgen Habermas 95 are making headway: the major features of contemporary society are explained by the emergence of new productive forces. Shigeto Tsuru 96 for example underlines that scientific research has now become one of those forces; this introduces new tendencies towards geographical concentration, those arising from the search for externalities linked with facilities offered for innovation, and to their internalisation by the most powerful companies.
Marxist geographers and sociologists have not. The opening up of contemporary Marxism can also be seen in other directions. There is a close resemblance between Marx's political economy, Freud's psychoanalysis and Saussure's linguistics 98 : they all rest upon the discovery of discontinuities in individual or collective reality and are, consequently, disciplines which unveil the truth; they are built on opposing pairs: consciousness-ideology, conscious- unconscious, language and speech.
At the level of those realities which cannot be reached by common analysis, the structural approach proves to be indispensable. Would it not be possible thus to develop a spatial semiology, a science of the environment which would give a new impetus to the study of perception and the social dimension it generally lacks 99?
Are there not, in the geography fashioned by man, regularities which have to do with the unconscious laws of the workings of the mind ? The study of spatial configurations could have much to gain from this kind of concern. However interesting the research carried out by Marxist theoreticians, we must needs acknowledge that space is never considered for its own sake: extension in space, distance, natural conditions hardly count in the approaches we have just been surveying. They are more explicit in the work of certain geographers with liberal-inspired theories — such as William Bunge in the sixties or David Harvey in his more recent work.
They obviously make the most of all that division of labour and class-struggle has to offer, but they do not forget more classical spatial. Among the forms of exploitation, Bunge and Harvey have emphasized those which result from inequality of access to resources and equipment; in so doing they have given Marxist-inspired geography a revolutionary impact it had long lost. William Bunge's investigations in Detroit and other American cities bring out these inequalities and emphasize their theoretical causes.
In their most recent work, J. M Blaut, David Harvey and other Marxists have tried to extract from Grundrisse a more systematic spatial theory than hitherto suggested. It is early days yet to judge the coherence of what they are constructing. Marxism and spatial practices. Scientific Marxism, until the Second World War, tended to be confused with the then dominant positivist or scientist tendency. These days it sometimes becomes structuralist. In both cases, the risk is that by devoting itself too exclusively to theory it may neglect practice and cut itself off from the real sources of comprehension of the social world.
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Many young Marxists are therefore trying to lead geography in another direction; they are making it into an analysis of the spatial dimensions of praxis Their approach is sometimes similar to that of the sociology of action, but theirs is a different inspiration. Many Soviet geographers are devoting themselves to retracing the stages of progressive control of the environment; they bring out the tactics of conquest and organisation of space.
The "voluntary" geography brought into play by planning authorities is taken to be a strategy. Baransky already described the development of Siberia as a series of offensives proceeding from one industrial base to the next Soviet geography owes its epic quality to this. These descriptions help to see what the system is tending towards: the desire to attain communism as soon as possible provides the impetus towards the accumulation of capital, the choice of giant installations, the pursuit of large-scale achievements, which is the sign of a transition to the material universalism which opens the way to the final universalisation of values and attitudes.
One feels, in the operations described, an anxiety to eliminate the disparity between town and country and to establish spatial justice by offering the same opportunities. The feeble analysis of practices as presented by eastern- bloc geographers is due to the absence of a critical attitude; they are usually satisfied with a catalogue of intentions and a list of planning objectives and they neglect the subtle dialectic of action and the resistance of the natural and social environment. Conditions in the liberal economies are certainly better for a Marxist wishing to analyse praxis He is not obliged to give a privileged place to collective action as structured by planning authorities.
He can go into the complexities of perception, the multiplicity of projects, the diversity of strategies. Not all components of the population have the same mental equipment, the same horizons, the same ability to grasp space, to place in it productive combinations, to ascribe a military value to it The origins of inequalities between groups often lie here: the analysis of the spatial components of praxis adds a new dimension to the study of class-struggle Among the groups with conflicting interests, one deserves particular attention: the strata which are lowest on the social scale carry on struggles which are often looked down on by researchers but which herald tomorrow's revolutions.
The Marxist intellectual shows his genuine humility by devoting himself to casting light upon working-class upheavals and their coordination. For some fifteen years, urban movements have been central to much research work. Their significance was discovered at about the same time in North American ghettos, in the immigrant workers' districts of large west- European cities and in the favelas, barrios and shanty- towns of the Third World.
In a somewhat different style, Lacoste is trying to grasp the logic of revolutionary strategies in their military manifestations. He is thereby sharing the preoccupations of traditional military geography: he has discovered Clausewitz, but only to use him as a tool to crush capitalism with. For him the type of praxis which ought to be clarified is that of the guerilla who succeeds in standing up to regular forces in a struggle for liberation.
On another scale, it is most important to analyse the strategy of Giap, the way he uses nature and society to resist enemies with infinitely greater facilities at their disposal. Marxism as critical thought and space. The third direction taken by Marxist thinking on space is that of criticism It is perhaps this which leads to the profoundest challenges to traditional geographical approaches.
At the beginning of the 19th century, Marx rebelled against the excessive use that was made of the lessons of 18th century rational philosophy: the principles of natural. His criticism denounced the ideological aspects of the social science of his time : by analysing social regularities as if they were universal and immutable laws, it gave support to the most glaring injustices. Society in the second half of the 20th century is very different from the one in which Marx carried out his struggle.
Capitalism has been transformed, the role of the State has grown continually, the most shocking inequalities have been reduced. In welfare economies, redistribution measures tend to even out the opportunities available to all. Fifteen or so years ago, the successes of liberal society seemed so great that people thought they could glimpse the end of the era of ill-will and of ideologies The social sciences had no hesitation in giving their support to the liberal order. There were some Marxists who had reservations: in France, Pierre George justified his critical attitude with respect to applied geography by his fear that geography would compromise itself, on the pretext of development, in doubtful tasks carried out to the benefit of private interests or the monopolist state.
He asked geographers to be on their guard: this was the meaning of his "active" geography. During the 's the weaknesses of advanced liberal society became more and more noticeable. Vietnam, the discovery, following Michael Harrington, of the other America, poor America, and then of that other world, the world of those excluded from the system on the periphery of the industrial world, have given rise to a new critical awareness. Everywhere people sought to measure the inequalities, the injustices and imperfections of the existing social order.
Part of the movement was led by radicals who did not come under the Marxist umbrella. Until about most English-. In the past few years critical geography has become more and more a Marxist geography It now devotes itself to demonstrating the various spatial forms of exploitation: David Harvey's work is very representative of this trend In France, critical awareness has developed faster among sociologists and town- planners than among geographers.
Economists have recently started to be receptive to the movement. Thought is not fulfilling its critical function properly if it only denounces the flaws and imperfections of the social system; after all, it is ordinary citizens, labourers, peasants, workers of all kinds, and users of public services, who are in the best position to assess the defects of the system they live in.
Ineffectual chit-chat is often all that is needed to trigger off the spontaneous reactions of the masses. The critical consciousness has a more important function to fulfill: it should expose what, in the intellectual process, serves to hide the weight of private interests beneath apparent rigour. The Frankfurt School has played a fundamental role in the contemporary revival of this aspect of Marxism: from Marcuse and Horkheimer to Habermas 1 18 , there has been some fundamental thinking on the subject of the betrayals of reason which scholars in the social sciences simply cannot ignore.
In this area the contribution of geographers is considerable This is most obvious among English-speaking. The recent work of Gunnar Olsson is symptomatic of this current. He studies the logics of theory and of practice. Attempts at scientific formalisation have until now been devoted exclusively to clarifying the logical reasoning which implies the theory — Galilean reasoning, as Olsson calls it.
An equally rigorous formalisation can be made of the intentional modes of reasoning which are characteristic of praxis — those of Aristotelian logic, according to Olsson. In this domain, von Wright's work has opened the way. Starting from these premises, Olsson demonstrates the presuppositions implicit in planning actions: he learns to judge them not merely according to their technical efficiency but according to their axiological content. He attacks in particular the abuse of Pareto's criterion, which results in maintaining situations of inequality that could otherwise be eliminated easily.
David Smith, in a neighbouring sector, is seeking to construct a geography of welfare, on the basis of criteria of choice which are socially more satisfactory than those adopted hitherto. Marxism's contribution to the reflexion on space thus seems full of paradoxes and contradictions. The understanding of spatial reality one finds in Marx's publications, especially the earlier ones, reflects a breadth of vision which most of his contemporaries lacked, particularly those who were then laying the foundations of human geography.
Marx had understood that it was impossible to comprehend the facts of distribution unless one addressed oneself to social groups as a whole interacting with one another within a system. He emphasized the role of the technical level and the decisive importance of productive forces in spatial architecture. He also drew attention to the weight of social relations and was perfectly aware that within a mode of production, the political, the cultural and the religious must not be disregarded if one wishes to.
Marx himself, from this potentially very modern idea of geography, did not fulfil all the promises of such works as The German Ideology. There is, it seems to me, one fundamental reason for this: in order to transform the philosophical system he had already constructed by about into a doctrine free from the uncertainties of ideology, Marx needed to give it a scientific form. He managed to do so by presenting an original analysis of the formation and functioning of capitalism: by reshaping classical thinking about labour-value, he extracted from it a general outline of the mechanisms of exploitation which justified the whole of his previous philosophical positions.
But he only succeeded in so doing by manipulating i. Space was thus eliminated from the final construction except in the form of a product of society; its properties are all deducible from the logic underlying the evolution of modes of production and it can have nothing unpredictable to offer. Marxist geography was from then onwards trapped in a major contradiction. Either it remained faithful to the contours of the world and endeavoured to account for all its combinations and regularities, and consequently modelled itself on Marx's earlier intuitions and approaches; or else it tried to be orthodox and ceased to be an objective approach: it was then nothing more than a spectacular exercise aimed at proving that the central theoretical structure of Book I of Capital is always right, whatever the circumstances.
If the former position was chosen, the scholar took the positive or the critical path according to his own preferences and deepest motivations. If the latter position was adopted his room for manoeuvre was drastically reduced: was there anything left for him to discover? It seems not — in any case, nothing on the plane of fundamental theory. The only way for the scholar's role to become autonomous would have been if his purpose had been to elucidate the relations between theory and praxis and to establish a. This was the way chosen by many geographers in Eastern Europe and by some Marxists in the West during the Stalinist era.
This approach is not without dangers however: instead of concerning themselves with the real aspects of practice, they found it more elegant to look to the prospective states those practices would not fail to generate. The geography of practice, like all apologetics, thus became a curious collective hagiography: we were no longer being told about the life of an individual hero, but about that of the major collective figure — reason embodied in the Plan. Even Hegel had gone no further in his identification of Reason with the State!
In those areas which Marxism has not yet conquered, prospects for research into praxis are infinitely more varied: they range from the study of peasant or urban movements to the analysis of revolutionary strategies. This has been the direction taken by many left-wingers in Europe and Latin America. Here the geographer can find a lot to engage his curiosity, since in the development he is studying not everything was implicitly contained in the initial situation.
His position is still an uncomfortable one, however: in revolutionary action, the pure intellectual is rather he who comments on the event after it has taken place than he who indicates in advance the course to take. To take the orthodox communist viewpoint, definition of revolutionary practice is the task of those who embody the class policy to follow in the decision-making bodies of the democratically centralised party. When a more open Marxist philosophy is adopted, the position of the intellectual is hardly better: the one who can define the right political line, the one who has the right to define the practice, is the proletarian combatant, or just possibly one who renounces speculation to devote himself to militant revolutionary action as Che Guevara did.
For one who lacks either the opportunity or the courage to throw himself into this kind of action, all that remains is to recount the practice of others — and we are back to hagiography once more. Criticism is a more ambitious choice: it takes up those parts of Marxist reasoning which give it coherence and originality; it aims at applying the principles of negative thought to new situations far more than at adding the final touch to scientific construction in the almost completed form Capital has given it. The purpose is to rediscover the. The critical method is very rarely practiced in eastern-bloc countries.
It has been developing rapidly in the West over the past fifteen years or so: which accounts for the renewal of interest in the Marxist approach. From a geographical point of view it has had appreciable results. Scholars are now aware of the ethical implications of the facts of location. They refrain from invoking the neutrality of the scientific approach as a way of eschewing the problems of social justice. The critical method, however, is only one phase of research; one must, after laying bare the negative aspect of a situation, be able to put forward a more coherent new construction.
A return to theoretical thinking has become necessary. The productions which have proliferated over the last fifteen years or so have been of extremely varied inspiration, but they have one thing in common: they never start by thinking directly about space, they never formulate a genuine spatial theory; the fundamental structure of the Marxist system prevents this, as we have seen.
What is fascinating about the contemporary renewal of Marxist thought is how a system which cannot focus its quest on spatial problems ends up producing a spatial theory. It is not however a construction focusing on a single theme. Space only emerges as a subject in itself for those who study the division of labour — outside the Eastern bloc they are relatively few in numbers.
Marx's Capital And Capitalism Today Routledge Library Editions: Political Science Volume 52
Distance and natural factors hardly count. What the theory apprehends is a the production of space as a commodity as part of the analysis of cities and the housing issue; b the difference in levels of development between societies. In the climate of the nineteenth century it would have been unthinkable to put forward an explanation of the facts of distribution which did not include transport costs as a.
In the climate of the late 20th century, transport charges are of a less determining nature; the liberal theory no longer allows them to be more than one factor of location among others. Contemporary Marxist thinking about space should not therefore be condemned for hardly taking into account the factor of distance. What seems more serious however is that it often ignores the role of transparency which is central to most other theoretical work: it is this deficiency which best exposes the limitations of the theoretical revival of the last few years, and explains why research into praxis is so interesting, as it is the only one to consider these aspects.
There can be no doubt that the predominant preoccupations of contemporary geography owe a lot to Marxism: without it, the pursuit of spatial equity and the concern to define a juster order would not have imposed themselves so rapidly. Nevertheless one gains the impression that it is in the external spheres of Marxist thought that the revival has been most remarkable. For those who are not ashamed of using all existing methods, the seed of Marxist critique has undoubtedly opened up a wider field of study.
As soon as one gets nearer the orthodox core, limitations grow more pronounced and in the end far outweigh the advantages which accrue from revision of the values conveyed by bourgeois institutions. It is difficult to construct a science of space within a system whose logic eliminates space. Recent advances have shown that it is possible, even in an unfavourable intellectual environment, sometimes to come up with new and correct interpretations.
They also indicate that without a painful revision of its methodological presuppositions, Marxism will long remain unable to propose any satisfactory restructuring of our field of study. The German Ideology. Moscow: Progress Publishing written in Translated by Eden and Cedar Paul. London: Allen and Un win written in , first published in A Contribution to the Critique of Political Economy. Calcutta: International Library Publishing Co. First published in Leicester: Students' Union, Leicester University, A Critique of Political Economy.
Ben Fowkes. Harmondsworth: Penguin Books. Paris: Les Belles Lettres, p. Paris, M Th. Genin and Litec, p. Theses of the papers. Tour K Leningrad, Progress in Geography, vol. London: Arnold. V Le nouvel esprit scientifique.