Post-Marxism in Sociology. Part I

Pavlov A.V.

Dr. Sci. (Philos.), Full Prof., School of Philosophy and Cultural Studies, National Research University Higher School of Economics; Leading Researcher, Head of the Department of Social Philosophy, Institute of Philosophy RAS, Moscow, Russia

DOI: 10.31857/S013216250014310-4
ID of the Article: 8589

For citation:

Pavlov A.V. Post-Marxism in Sociology. Part I. Sotsiologicheskie issledovaniya [Sociological Studies]. 2021. No 4. P. 74-84


The paper offers a consideration of a problem that arose in English-language sociology in the second half of the 1970s – attempts to describe and self-describe Marxism as a sociological tradition. The author gives a working definition to the concept and shows on the example of sociologists Göran Therborn and George Ritzer how different are the approaches to the typology of Post-Marxism. Then the author turns to the historical analysis of discussions about post-Marxism in sociology. The author discovers origins of post-Marxism in discussions about “Western Marxism”. At first, historians and sociologists worked with the category of “Western Marxism”, but the crisis of Marxism as a theory and practice along with attempts to update it led to the emergence of post-Marxism. The word “post-Marxism” was first used casually, but in the mid-1980’s, as a label of self-description and accusation of betrayal, it replaced “Western Marxism”. Post-Marxism in the 1980’s existed in three forms – Marxist analysis of postmodernism (Fredric Jameson, David Harvey etc.), analytical Marxism (J.A. Cohen, Jon Elster, John Roemer etc.) and post-Marxism as understood by Ernesto Laclau and Chantal Mouffe. All three intellectual movements were severely criticized by more orthodox Marxists and those who wanted to appropriate the term “post-Marxism”, putting their own meaning into it.

theoretical sociology; Western Marxism; post-Marxism; postmodernism; analytical Marxism; historical materialism; practical philosophy


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Content No 4, 2021