150 Years after Das Kapital: Are Classical Marxian Visions Relevant for Studying Capitalism/s in the XXI Century?

Thursday, 19 July 2018: 11:30
Oral Presentation
Natalia TREGUBOVA, St. Petersburg State University, Russia
Dmitrii ZHIKHAREVICH, Tandem, Russia
The paper aims to discuss the Marxian vision of bourgeois society with regard to current sociological debates about contemporary capitalism/s. In existing sociology, both mainstream and critical, capitalism is understood primarily in line with the Weberian tradition (historical macrosociology or new economic sociology), sometimes mixed with Ricardian Marxism (world-system analysis). In this paper, we want to ask, what kind of conceptual benefits a stronger fidelity to Marx himself would bring to our understanding of capitalism, especially of its categorical core that remains beyond the institutional and technological varieties.

To do so we will sketch out how to operationalize Karl Marx’s visions for doing sociological inquiry into current versions of capitalism/s. We will try to accomplish this by (1) summarizing the ways in which Karl Marx himself conceived and formulated ideas of studying bourgeois society, (2) going over the number of criticisms lodged against different versions of Marxist accounts, and (3) evaluating the various ways in which Marx’s ideas have been operationalized in existing sociological research. In so doing, we will center our attention on Das Kapital and Grundrisse as well as various commentaries to these classical texts.