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Irving Zeitlin

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Marxs Historical Sociology After Marxs death, Marxism became known as a theory in which economic and other material factors explained the structure of society and the course of history Dominant view among Marxists and its critiques Marxism was reduced to a one-factor theoryeconomy means everything Marxs focus on the connections between economic development and social class formation was reduced to a form of technological determinism by his followers Changes in an important element of production (ex: discovered of a new fuel, raw material) was said to determine the movement of history In time, prominent Marxists exposed these views as distortions of Marxs ideas They were successful and under them, Marxism became regarded as an open, non dogmatic, theoretical approach stresses the relative autonomy of the no economic spheres of society and underscored the role of human consciousness and will in the making of history Recently, this view has itself become under attack- there has been a reversion to the older, deterministic versions of Marxs ideas Shaw- adopts the technological-determinist interpretation Cohen- adopts the technological label but not the determinist one Believes that for Marx, history is the development of human power but the course of its development is not subject to human will Both Shaw and Cohen believe in the primacy thesis that foundation is the cause of historical development and superstructure is the effect Marxs famous preface Marx speaks of an economic foundation and of legal and political superstructures Discusses that the mode of production determines the general character of the social, political and spiritual processes of life Asserts that social existence determines social consciousness Assigns causal priority to the forces of production in brinign about social change Engels wrote to both Bloch and Startenburg in which he clarified Marxs position In the letters, he allows for some interaction between base and superstructure In both letters, he insists that economic conditions ultimately assert themselves Effect of the letters was to reaffirm the causal priority of economic conditions Zeitlin believes Engels and Marx share responsibility for the misunderstanding of their views Also, they share responsibility for the impression that they are social evolutionists Zeitlin- the only way of assessing the importance of Marxs preface is to place it in the context of Marxs total scholarly output Tribal Ownership In German Ideology, Marx and Engles introduce the concept of mode of
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