Although my recent posts on this blog would seem to indicate that I am totally absorbed by the primary contests in the Democratic and Republican parties, in fact my mind has been for the most part lately focused on the two talks I shall be giving next week at Brown and MIT. As I have thought through the sequence of things I plan to say, it has occurred to me that two of my on-line writings, when combined, form an extremely good introduction to the work I have done on Marx these past forty years or so. If anyone has an interest in a brief overview of that work, they might read The Study of Society and A Unified Reading of Marx, both available on box.net via the link at the top of this page. Together, those two essays run roughly 41,000 words, which is to say, about as long as what Professors of Law call “a note.” To that one might add Narrative Time, originally published in Midwest Studies in Philosophy and also available on box.net.
The deeper message of all three essays is that the study of society is unavoidably ideologically inflected. Hence my statement that one ought to read great works of social theory in the original rather than as redacted in textbooks. S. Wallerstein asks which other works, besides Capital, one should read in that fashion. I would certainly say Max Weber’s Economy and Society, Karl Mannheim’s Ideology and Utopia, Thomas Hobbes’ Leviathan, Erving Goffman’s Presentations of Self in Everyday Life, and Emile Durkheim’s Suicide. [Also many other works by Marx, but sufficient unto the day.]