Book query

David McInerney davidmci at
Thu Feb 8 22:44:29 MST 1996


I have this book but have not got around to reading it yet, with thesis
commitments and all that.  I purchased it at a time when I found
Wittgenstein more interesting than I do now.  People on the list may be
familar with Kitching's other work: one on Marxism as a 'philosophy of
praxis' (a book which Wood attacks in _The Retreat from Class_) an earlier
one on theories of development and nationalism, and a paper on Anderson and
Gellner on nationalism which appeared in _Capital & Class_ in 1986.
Kitching teaches at UNSW (in the same dept as Ephraim Nimni, author of
_Marxism and Nationalism_).  I've read the stuff on nationalism and I
thought it made some more obvious points against Gellner and Anderson (I am
*much* harsher in my forthcoming critique of Anderson).  Other than these
points I can't tell you much about Kitching's work.  I know that the early
book on development is still referenced widely in the literature and
appears often in undergrad reading lists on the topic.  That said, I am not
a fan of reading the earlier work of someone into the later work, so the
best thing is to read it.  On its treatment of the "Althusserians", like
most authors writing on this topic Kitching does not seem to engage
seriously with the later works (i.e. the self-criticisms), choosing to
focus pretty much exclusively on Althusser's _For Marx_ and _Reading
'Capital'_ (w/Balibar) (1965) and Poulantzas's _Political Power and Social
Classes_ (1968).  I find this tactic **extremely** tiresome.  This is
probably why I haven't forced myself to read it.



P.S.  I saw the Scott book the other day in the new books section of the
Chifley library at ANU.  It looks interesting enough.

P.P.S.  It's some years now, but I read Neilsen's _Marxism and the Moral
Point of View_ and I found the whole thing rather tenuous.  Highly
hermenuetical in approach, rather like Geras's _Marx and Human Nature_.
Some people like this sort of stuff, though -- perhaps Neilsen's approval
indicates *who* is going to find Kitching's book appealing, more so that
any "objective merits" of the book in question.

>Has anyone on the list come across _Marxism and Science_
>by Gavin Kitching (Penn State, 1994?).  If so, with
>what thoughts?
>In the blurb Kai Nielsen says this about it:
>"This striking and very readable book should be
>read not only by political scientists and philosophers
>but far more widely by other scholars in the humanities
>and social sciences as well as by the intellectual public
>generally.  It perceptively articulates and defends a form
>of Wittgensteinian Marxism and brilliantly criticizes the
>scientism of much of classical Marxism which tries to model
>Marxian theory on a realist picture of natural science.
>Kitching argues that such a conception of Marxism is both
>theoretically unsound and often politically pernicious."
>rburns at
>PS--For a really interesting account of what a 'materialist
>theology' would look like, see Peter Scott, _Theology,
>Ideology, and Liberation_ (Cambridge U. Press, 1994).
>PPS--It is with great sadness that I report to the list the
>death in Uruguay of Juan Luis Segundo SJ, IMO the very best
>of the liberation theologians.  He was 70.
>     --- from list marxism at ---

Mr. David McInerney,
Political Science Program, Research School of Social Sciences,
The Australian National University, Canberra, A.C.T., AUSTRALIA  0200.
e-mail: davidmci at; ph: (06) 249 2134; fax: (06) 249 3051

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