Marx, marxism, anthropology

Alex Trotter uburoi at panix.com
Mon Oct 30 21:31:39 MST 1995


Lisa Rogers made a comment on the inadequacy of M & E's concept of
anthropology. That implies shortcomings in the work of Morgan and
Bachofen, on whose work marxists of many denominations, from stalinists
to Wilhelm Reich (as well as the bearded prophets
themselves) have based their understanding of this field. It would seem
that anthropology should be a central concern to revolutionaries, whether
they consider themselves marxists, anarchists, or feminists, as the
project of emancipation necessarily brings up questions of "primitive
communism," origins of property, sexual mores, the state, and so on.
	Since anthropology is, if I remember correctly, Lisa's field of
expertise, I would be interested in seeing more of what she has to say on
the subject. Some questions I have are 1) what is the status of Lewis H.
Morgan's work among anthropologists today? 2) do marxist categories apply
to 'primitive' societies (i.e., modes of production, labor as the
fundamental condition of humans)? Some anthropologists, such as Sahlins
and Clastres, think not. Finally, getting back to the query I threw out a
few days ago concerning Ursula LeGuin's father, A.L. Kroeber: What school
did he belong to, and was he politically radical in some way that
influenced his daughter?

--AT




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