1st Edition

The Sociology of Postmarxism

By Richard Howson Copyright 2017
    160 Pages
    by Routledge

    160 Pages
    by Routledge

    Postmarxism is often depicted as a point of intersection for a set of inter-disciplinary theories that are in themselves complex and dense.

    Bringing the postmarxist theory of Ernesto Laclau into the field of political sociology through a close reading and analysis of postmarxism and its relationship to ‘the social’, A Sociology of Postmarxism develops key postmarxist arguments in an engaging and sociologically applicable way. Indeed, through a threefold method of analysis, Howson first unpacks the relationship between ‘the social’ and ‘the political’ by analysing key allied theories to show where the points of connection occur. This is then followed by an insightful analysis of the key features of postmarxist theory such as antagonism and the inevitability of social dislocation, the political importance of hegemony; and the empty signifier thesis and equivalence to show how such theory can be applied at a sociological level. Finally, through the use of sociological categories such as masculinities, migration and social capital, the foregoing theoretical analyses are synthesised to show the social nature of postmarxism and particularly in the context of aspiration and co-operation.

    This enlightening volume will appeal to undergraduate and postgraduate students, as well as postdoctoral researchers who are interested in fields such as Political Sociology, Post Marxist Political Theory and Social Theory.

    Table of Contents


    Chapter One: Introduction

    Why The Social?

    Why Postmarxism?

    Why Postmarxism and Social capital

    Chapter Two: From the Social to the Political


    The Social in Historical Materialism

    Setting out a Post- Terrain

    Sociology and The Social in Postmarxism

    Counter-Positions of The Social

    Chapter Three: Classical Approaches to The Social


    The Sociological project and the Emergence of Positivism

    Karl Marx: Logic to Contradiction to Mediation

    Emile Durkheim: Moral Positivism and Mediation

    Max Weber: From Rationality to Irrationality as Social Mediation

    Chapter Four: Establishing a Basis for Postmarxism


    The New Priority

    The Social as ‘Sedimentation’ and The Political as ‘Reactivation’

    Chapter Five: From Antagonism to Equivalence


    Antagonism as the Limit of Social Objectivity

    "You Can Only Free Somethings …": Hegemony and The Political

    Hegemony and the Constitution of Equivalence

    Chapter Six: Finding The Political in Social Capital


    What is Social Capital?

    Forms of Social Capital

    Social Capital and The Political

    Chapter Seven: Desert - Migration as Social Dislocation


    Quantity and Composition of Global Migration

    Migration and (Post)Industrialisation

    Foundational Approaches to Migration

    Definitional Problematics

    Causation Theories

    Continuation Theories

    Postmarxism and Migration

    Chapter Eight: Aspiration – Hegemonic Masculinity as Emptiness


    Gender Antagonism in the Modernity-Postmodernity Tens


    Richard Howson is Associate Professor in Sociology at the University of Wollongong

     The Sociology of Postmarxism is a pleasure to read, at least for this reader. It combines careful, concise and generic analysis of the relations of marxism, materialism and discourse with an opening up of specific avenues, such as, social capital, migration, and men and masculinities, to the insights of postmarxist approaches in sociology. In so doing, it delivers a profound critique and challenge to Sociology itself, both mainstream and critical, and its mystifications of "society".

    Jeff Hearn, Örebro University, Sweden; Hanken School of Economics, Finland; University of Huddersfield, UK