This book examines the uses made of anthropology by Marx and Engels, and the uses made of Marxism by anthropologists. Looking at the writings of Marx and Engels on primitive societies, the book evaluates their views in the light of present knowledge and draws attention to inconsistencies in their analysis of pre-capitalist societies. These inconsistencies can be traced to the influence of contemporary anthropologists who regarded primitive societies as classless. As Marxist theory was built around the idea of class, without this concept the conventional Marxist analysis foundered.
First published in 1983.