Forms of Historical Disruption

  • Stanley Aronowitz
Part of the Language, Discourse, Society book series (LDS)


Historical materialism has always been confronted with the events that have placed one of its central precepts, the unity of history, in severe jeopardy. Marx’s scheme — according to which changes in the mode of production may be taken as the markers of different historical periods — operates at a level of abstraction so broad as to render its analytic value doubtful when faced with concrete historical developments. On the one hand, the mode of production is supposed to be constituted by antagonistic but mutually-dependent social classes. On the other hand, all issues such as culture and ideology are understood in their relation to the social totality, to the specific historical period of which they are a part. For Marxism, capitalism is a world system that tends towards uniformity on the basis of the hegemonic weight of commodity relations, and consequently its form of rationality.


World System Historical Materialism Uneven Development Marxist Theory Modem World 
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  1. 117.
    Rosa Luxemburg, Accumulation of Capital (New York: Monthly Review Press, 1968).Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Stanley Aronowitz 1990

Authors and Affiliations

  • Stanley Aronowitz
    • 1
  1. 1.City University of New YorkUSA

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