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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