© 2019

Alienation and Emancipation in the Work of Karl Marx


Part of the Marx, Engels, and Marxisms book series (MAENMA)

Table of contents

  1. Front Matter
    Pages i-xxvi
  2. George C. Comninel
    Pages 1-31
  3. George C. Comninel
    Pages 33-63
  4. George C. Comninel
    Pages 65-88
  5. George C. Comninel
    Pages 89-109
  6. George C. Comninel
    Pages 111-122
  7. George C. Comninel
    Pages 123-150
  8. George C. Comninel
    Pages 151-186
  9. George C. Comninel
    Pages 187-202
  10. George C. Comninel
    Pages 219-233
  11. George C. Comninel
    Pages 235-254
  12. George C. Comninel
    Pages 255-280
  13. George C. Comninel
    Pages 281-321
  14. Back Matter
    Pages 323-342

About this book


This book considers Karl Marx’s ideas in relation to the social and political context in which he lived and wrote. It emphasizes both the continuity of his commitment to the cause of full human emancipation, and the role of his critique of political economy in conceiving history to be the history of class struggles. The book follows his developing ideas from before he encountered political economy, through the politics of 1848 and the Bonapartist “farce”, the maturation of the critique of political economy in the Grundrisse and Capital, and his engagement with  the politics of the First International and the legacy of the Paris Commune. Notwithstanding errors in historical judgment largely reflecting the influence of dominant liberal historiography, Marx laid the foundations for a new social theory premised upon the historical consequences of alienation and the potential for human freedom.


Alienation and Marx Emancipation and Marx Alienation and Emancipation Marxism Communist Theory

Authors and affiliations

  1. 1.Department of PoliticsYork UniversityTorontoCanada

About the authors

George C. Comninel is Professor of Political Theory in the Department of Politics at York University, Canada. He is the author of Rethinking the French Revolution: Marxism and the Revisionist Challenge (1987), as well as articles and chapters on feudalism, the politics of the French Revolution, and Marx’s thought.

Bibliographic information


“Comninel’s Interpretation … focusses on how the original conceptual framework of Marx evolved with his critique of capitalism from his initial framework of alienation of labour. … George Comninel’s exciting contribution can be regarded as a fresh start to recast Marx with his own social and political context, with a strong critique of the Marxist accounts that undermined the essential features of the historical materialist method.” (Berkay Koçak, Progress in Political Economy (PPE),, June 10, 2021)

“With such balanced prose and precise argumentation there are few words fit for purpose other than to declare that with Alienation and Emancipation in the Work of Karl Marx, George Comninel has produced a simply exquisite book. Without hyperbole, it ranks among some of the finest scholarship I have encountered in the past decade.” (Scott Timcke, Marx and Philosophy, June 12, 2020)

“This is a skilled and dedicated work of scholarship that will serve anyone interested in deeper engagement with Marx’s works in their own terms very well. … the lively style and illuminating historical analysis will provide fresh insights for readers of all levels of familiarity with the First International’s best known thinker.” (Jules Joanne Gleeson, Tribune, July 8, 2019)