American University
Why Marx Still Matters.docx (69.59 kB)

Why Marx Still Matters

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journal contribution
posted on 2023-11-20, 19:52 authored by Jon WismanJon Wisman

This article explores why a deep understanding of Marx’s project is essential for developing an adequate science of society. Marx focused on two aspects of social reality that are critical to its understanding but that are absent from the contemporary practice of social science. First, he viewed humanity’s struggle to overcome nature’s scarcity as causally and dynamically related to social organization and social consciousness. Second, and critical to this breadth, and what is alien to the Anglo-American social science tradition, Marx unfolded a theory of our self-creation, the manner in which products of our manual and intellectual labor act back upon us to create us socially and intellectually. To the extent that we lose consciousness of this authorship, our freedom is constrained. We are controlled by our own creations, frequently in harmful manners. Our full freedom, and therefore our capacity to come to terms with contemporary challenges requires a social science with the breadth of Marx’s that enables us to recover awareness of our authorship of our social creations and thereby be empowered to control them, as opposed to being their victims.


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