Introduction: The Theory of History and the State

  • Paul Wetherly


This book is concerned with Marxist state theory, but from a particular angle: that is, the theory of the state insofar as it is contained within Marx’s theory of history. As far as the theory of history goes, the book draws heavily, but not uncritically, on Cohen’s masterful exposition and defence in Karl Marx’s Theory of History: A Defence (Cohen, 1978).1 Cohen’s treatment of the base-superstructure connection is rather limited, in contrast to the detailed argument in respect of the forces and relations of production, and this book attempts to go some way to remedy that deficiency. The commitment to an ‘analytical approach’ is also inspired by Cohen’s work on the theory of history, though, more precisely, the inspiration comes from the broad rather than the narrow meaning of analysis. In other words, it is the ‘precision of statement … and rigour of argument’ in Cohen’s work that is to be aspired to, not the commitment to methodological individualism that is to be emulated (Cohen, 2000, p. xviii).


Political Power Economic Structure Economic Power Capitalist Society Methodological Individualism 
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Copyright information

© Paul Wetherly 2005

Authors and Affiliations

  • Paul Wetherly
    • 1
  1. 1.Leeds Metropolitan UniversityUK

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