Social Theory: From Marxism To Post Marxism

Modular value: 20 credits
Duration: Term 2
Teaching: 2 hour seminar

Lecturers: Ross Abbinnett and Will Leggett

This module is divided into two five week blocs: 'Marxism, Late-Capitalism' and Postmodernity' and 'Ideology, Discourse, and Strategy'. In the first of these the questions of representation, technological intensification of the labour process, and the creation of 'the masses', will be considered in relation to French and German versions of critical theory.

In the second part of the module, the emphasis shifts towards an evaluation of the relationship between Marxism and democratic practice. In particular, the relationship between Gramsci’s notion of civil society and Mouffe and Laclau’s work on discourse theory will be explored in detail.  

By the end of the module students will be able:

  • To specify the historical evolution of the economic, technological, and ideological powers of capitalism
  • To analyse Marx’s account of capitalism as a system of radical exploitation of labour power
  • To engage critically with the development of Marxism as: (i) a doctrine of economic determinism (ii) a critique of ideology and representation (iii) a theory of revolutionary transformation (iv) a speculative account of radical democracy
  • To instil a sense of the continuity between Marx’s writings and the evolution of Marxism through its 'early', 'late', and 'postmodernist' phases


  • 1 essay (100%)

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