Knowledge, Class, and Economics : Marxism without Guarantees book cover
1st Edition

Knowledge, Class, and Economics
Marxism without Guarantees

ISBN 9781138634480
Published October 13, 2017 by Routledge
532 Pages 8 B/W Illustrations

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Book Description

Knowledge, Class, and Economics: Marxism without Guarantees surveys the "Amherst School" of non-determinist Marxist political economy, 40 years on: its core concepts, intellectual origins, diverse pathways, and enduring tensions. The volume’s 30 original essays reflect the range of perspectives and projects that comprise the Amherst School—the interdisciplinary community of scholars that has enriched and extended, while never ceasing to interrogate and recast, the anti-economistic Marxism first formulated in the mid-1970s by Stephen Resnick, Richard Wolff, and their economics Ph.D. students at the University of Massachusetts-Amherst.

The title captures the defining ideas of the Amherst School: an open-system framework that presupposes the complexity and contingency of social-historical events and the parallel "overdetermination" of the relationship between subjects and objects of inquiry, along with a novel conception of class as a process of performing, appropriating, and distributing surplus labor. In a collection of 30 original essays, chapters confront readers with the core concepts of overdetermination and class in the context of economic theory, postcolonial theory, cultural studies, continental philosophy, economic geography, economic anthropology, psychoanalysis, and literary theory/studies.

Though Resnick and Wolff’s writings serve as a focal point for this collection, their works are ultimately decentered—contested, historicized, reformulated. The topics explored will be of interest to proponents and critics of the post-structuralist/postmodern turn in Marxian theory and to students of economics as social theory across the disciplines (economics, geography, postcolonial studies, cultural studies, anthropology, sociology, political theory, philosophy, and literary studies, among others).

Table of Contents

List of Figures and Tables

List of Contributors

Introduction: Marxism without guarantees

Richard McIntyre, Theodore Burczak, and Robert Garnett


Part I: Knowledge, class, and economics

Chapter One

A Conversation with Rick Wolff

Richard McIntyre

Part II: Economics without guarantees

Chapter Two

Strangers in a Strange Land: A Marxian Critique of Economics

David F. Ruccio

Chapter Three

Marxian Economics without Teleology: The Big New Life of Class

Bruce Norton

Chapter Four

Class-Analytic Marxism and the Recovery of the Marxian Theory of Enterprise

Erik Olsen

Chapter Five

Uncertainty and Overdetermination

Donald W. Katzner

Chapter Six

Catallactic Marxism: Marx, Hayek, and the Market

Ted Burczak

Part III: Labor, value, and class

Chapter Seven

Class and Overdetermination: Value Theory and the Core of Resnick and Wolff’s Marxism

Bruce Roberts

Chapter Eight

Wolff and Resnick’s Interpretation of Marx’s Theory of Value and Surplus-Value: Where’s the Money?

Fred Moseley

Chapter Nine

Rethinking Labor: Surplus, Class, and Justice

Faruk Eray Düzenli

Part IV: Heretical materialism

Chapter Ten

The Last Instance: Resnick and Wolff at the Point of Heresy

Warren Montag

Chapter Eleven

Aleatory Marxism: Resnick, Wolff, and the Revivification of Althusser

Joseph W. Childers

Chapter Twelve

Process: Tracing Connections and Consequences

Yahya M. Madra

Part V: Appraising the postmodern turn

Chapter Thirteen

Marxism’s Double Task: Deconstructing and Reconstructing Postmodernism

Jan Rehmann

Chapter Fourteen

Overdetermination: The Ethical Moment

George DeMartino

Chapter Fifteen

The Cost of Anti-Essentialism

Paul Smith

Chapter Sixteen

Marxism and Postmodernism: Our Goal is to Learn from One Another

Richard D. Wolff

Part VI: Postcolonial Marx

Chapter Seventeen

Global Marx?

Gayatri Chakravorty Spivak

Chapter Eighteen

Primitive Accumulation and Historical Inevitability: A Postcolonial Critique

Anjan Chakrabarti, Stephen Cullenberg, and Anup Dhar

Chapter Nineteen

Draining the "Blood Energy": Destruction of Independent Production and Creation of Migrant Workers in Post-Reform China

Joseph Medley and Lorrayne Carroll

Chapter Twenty

Problematizing the Global Economy: Financialization and the "Feudalization" of Capital

Rajesh Bhattacharya and Ian J. Seda-Irizarry

Chapter Twenty One

Reproduction of Noncapital: A Marxian Perspective on the Informal Economy in India

Snehashish Bhattacharya

Part VII: Capitalism and class analysis

Chapter Twenty Two

Management Ideologies and the Class Structure of Capitalist Enterprises: Shareholderism vs. Stakeholderism at Scott Paper Company

Michael Hillard and Richard McIntyre

Chapter Twenty Three

Lewis L. Lorwin’s "Five-Year Plan for the World": A Subsumed Class Response to the Crises of the 1930s

Claude Misukiewicz

Part VIII: Communism without guarantees

Chapter Twenty Four

Bad Communisms

Maliha Safri and Kenan Erçel

Chapter Twenty Five

Hope without Guarantees: Overdeterminist Anti-Capitalism amidst Neoliberal Precarity

Ellen Russell

Part IX: Knowledge and class in everyday life

Chapter Twenty Six

The Work of Sex

Harriet Fraad

Chapter Twenty Seven

Homelessness as Violence: Bad People, Bad Policy, or Overdetermined Social Processes?

Vincent Lyon-Callo

Chapter Twenty Eight

Family Farms, Class, and the Future of Food

Elizabeth Ramey

Chapter Twenty Nine

A Long Shadow and Undiscovered Country: Notes on the Class Analysis of Education

Masato Aoki

Chapter Thirty

Ecological Challenges: A Marxist Response

Andriana Vlachou


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Theodore Burczak is Professor of Economics at Denison University and author of Socialism after Hayek

Robert Garnett is Associate Dean and Honors Professor of the Social Sciences in the John V. Roach Honors College at Texas Christian University, USA.

Richard McIntyre is Professor of Economics and Chair of the Economics Department, University of Rhode Island, USA.


"A superb achievement! This is the definitive collection dedicated to the work of Stephen Resnick and Richard Wolff, the influential scholars who, with their "Amherst School" students, changed Marxian economics forever. It includes piercing, yet appreciative evaluations of their bedrock concepts: class, Marxian knowledge, and overdetermination. The authors in this compendium are all the right commentators (former students, colleagues, and famed social theorists), and the editors—Theodore Burczak, Robert Garnett, and Richard McIntyre—have turned in the most insightful, lucid, and useful introductory essay to the work of Resnick and Wolff yet written. A must for undergraduates, graduates, scholars, and activists everywhere, for whom Marxism remains a living tradition.", Jack Amariglio, Professor of Economics, Merrimack College, USA

"Nearly a half century of stagnant wages and rising inequality, and the economic crisis following the financial crisis of 2008, has brought renewed interest to Marxian economics even while undermining the credibility of orthodox economic analysis. Richard Wolff and the late-Stephen Resnick did not need this crisis to discover the importance of Marxian analysis.  Through their teaching as much as their writing, they have advanced Marxian analysis beyond the simple materialism of the Second International and Stalinism.  Recognizing that capitalism is rarely a total and all-encompassing system, and that there are elements of noncapitalism all around us, they have developed a Marxian political economy that recognizes the importance of multiple forms of identity and engagement where social life is interwoven with forms of exploitation and resistance.  They did this by building a community of scholarship and political engagement with colleagues and students, and students who became colleagues.  These students and colleagues have collected a set of essays drawing on their work, and developing a central concept in Resnick and Wolff’s thought: "Marxism without Guarantees."  While providing a superb introduction to Resnick and Wolff’s thought, Knowledge, Class, and Economics is a set of 30 challenging, fascinating, and stimulating essays. They are a worthy return to the many scholarly gifts that Resnick and Wolff gave us all.", Gerald Friedman, Professor of Economics, University of Massachusetts at Amherst, USA

"History’s ironies never end. The interest in Marxism is now more intense than it has been in more than three decades. This collection offers a theoretical and political invitation that deserves full consideration. It showcases the scope and depth of the innovativeness of an approach, which began its life in the work of Stephen Resnick, Richard Wolff, their students and colleagues, in an impressive range of themes at the level of epistemology and philosophy; economic and historical analysis of capitalism’s different sites; and non-capitalisms in theory and practice. The essays presented in this volume all call for our attention, because they have come from an intellectual source that has breathed new life into Marxism: one ‘without guarantees,’ and one, which offers ‘hope without guarantees.’ It is one that calls for continuous reflection; it is for re-thinking Marxism indeed.", Professor Serap Ayșe Kayatekin, Division of Social Sciences and Humanities, American College of Thessaloniki, Greece

"This incisive and wide-ranging collection does far more than commemorate the moment of the Amherst School and the possibilities of rethinking Marxism these past thirty years.  It shows us what radical thinking looks like today.  Knowledge, Class, and Economics will soon be required reading across the social sciences and humanities.", Andrew Parker, Comparative Literature, Rutgers University