RE: [OPE] Question to Marxologists: Mode of production

Date: Tue Sep 02 2008 - 21:23:36 EDT

Hi Jurriaan:
What Althusser did or did not write is besides the point, I think:
one needs to distinguish between a mode of production and a
particular society (social formation). Obviously, there are many
different societies (social formations) where the capitalist mode
of production prevails but the concrete characteristics of those
societies can not be deduced/reduced from/to the characteristics of
the capitalist mode of production. What one requires, historically
and conceptually, is a theory which allows one to understand
major general systems of production, distribution, and exchange but be
able to distinguish that from the more concrete and specific
characteristics of a given society. If we were to confuse the
mode of production with a specific social formation then we would
likely either commit the fallacy of composition or the fallacy of
division. One of the common errors that Marxists make is to
attempt to deduce the characteristics of a given society from
the general chacteristics of a mode of production. This runs into
obvious problem: it obliterates regional variations and characteristics
which may have been historically important in shaping a society.
It also is not satisfactory when we are trying to understand a
society where although one mode of production dominates, there are
elements of other modes of production in play.
A parallel might be that there is a need both for abstract theory
and for 'class analysis' (or a substitute expression meaning the same
thing).In solidarity, Jerry

ope mailing list
Received on Tue Sep 2 21:26:25 2008

This archive was generated by hypermail 2.1.8 : Wed Dec 03 2008 - 15:12:31 EST