The panel takes the occasion of Karl Marx's 200th birth anniversary to revisit and expand Marxian anthropology. It will link the local and the global with a focus on the grounded dynamics of class struggle, value formation, financialization and anti-systemic movements.
The 200th birth anniversary of Karl Marx is an ideal opportunity to revisit and expand the long tradition of Marxist anthropology. In the 1960s-1980s, the French "modes of production school" as well as Anglophone anthropologists like Peter Worsley, Sidney Mintz and Eric Wolf, witnessing the revolutionary movements rocking the Third World and urban agglomerations in the western capitalist heartlands, adapted the Marxian tool-kit to make ethnographically grounded interventions and criticisms. While their main concern was with social formations before and at the margins of capitalism, the global crises of the late 1990s and escalating ever since, have provoked a new generation of anthropologists to draw on Marxian theory for uncovering forms of domination and injustice specific to contemporary capitalism in both core and peripheral economies. This panel invites presentations that advance these approaches. Through fieldwork-based analyses informed by a close reading of Marx's oeuvre, the papers in this panel will bridge structural and ideational aspects of everyday life, draw attention to the marginal and peripheral, and link phenomena at various scales from local to global, to track the dynamics of class struggle, accumulation and exploitation, value formation and destruction, financialization and anti-systemic movements. Papers should aim to advance the scope and scale of Marxian anthropology to reveal how people in a variety of settings and social positions think and act within the constraints of contemporary capitalism and how these thoughts and practices reproduce or challenge these constraints; stimulating our capacity to imagine life beyond capitalism.