Social Theory: From Marxism To Post Marxism

School: School of Government
Department of Political Science and International Studies

Modular value: 20 credits
Duration: Term 2
Contact Hours: 3 hours per week

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%)

Related modules:

The optional modules listed on the website for this programme may unfortunately occasionally be subject to change. As you will appreciate key members of staff may leave the University and this necessitates a review of the modules that are offered. Where the module is no longer available we will let you know as soon as we can and help you make other choices.