114 Matching Annotations
  1. Mar 2023
  2. Jan 2023
    1. In any nonviolent campaign there are four basic steps: collection of the facts to determine whether injustices exist; negotiation; self purification; and direct action.
    1. What can we learn? More importantly: was any philanthropy the subjects did this year just .... not included? Not significant enough to make a difference? What do you think? * Tech giants have grown drastically over the last decade but this year tech stocks at many firms fell substantially in 2022 as pandemic sales waned (Meta and Tesla the farthest -65%, Apple the least at -26%). The broader market also plunged this year due to Russia's invasion of Ukraine, inflation/interest, and decreases in consumer spending. This has led to hiring freezes and layoffs. * Musk - Lost $132B, current $139B. No longer richest in the world. Decreased electric vic demand in China, rising cost of supples, Twitter distractions. Prior to a large stock gift of $6B to his foundation this year, Musk had only given about $280M over lifetime. * Bezos - Lost $84B, current $108B. Stepped down as Amazon CEO. Amazon hit by inflation and slowing growth from pandemic sales. In November he announced he would give away most of his wealth over his lifetime. As of November, he had donated abt $600M in Amazon shares and thus far he has given around $2.4B lifetime. * Zuckerberg - Lost $80B, current $45B. Meta has increased competition from TikTok and other apps, and a tougher digital ad environment. Lifetime giving as of Jan '22 was $3B, combined with Priscilla Chan. * Page and Brin - Lost ~ $44B each, current ~ $82B each. Stepped down from exec roles at Google/Alphabet in 2019 but still on board and hold voting shares. Digital advertising environment has impacted growth. Brin divorced wife earlier this year. Page has given about $15B lifetime (as of 2019), but 96% of that has gone to DAFs. Brin gave away $127M to his foundation (which has $3B in assets as of 2020) and the Michael J Fox Foundation at the end of 2022. * Gates - Lost $29B (20%, roughly even with the market), current $109B. Microsoft shares shrank by > 30% as expects slowing growth from cloud revenue which led to Wall Street sells (also weaker PC sales and less ad spending on LinkedIn and searches). Lifetime giving as of Jan '22 was $33B. * Steve Balmer - Lost $20B, current $86B. Microsoft slides ate into earnings. Purchases LA Clippers. Forbes profiled billionaire's lifetime giving in early 2022. Lifetime giving as of Jan '22 was $2B.

    1. Achille Mbembe’s recent essay‘‘Decolonizing the University: New Direc-tions’’ (2016), which urges attention to thelarge and difficult intellectual questionsinvolved in the reform project.


    1. For their part, Marx, Durkheim, and Weber will still be present in thishistory. They will be present in realistic contexts and proportions, not asshadowy giants at the limit of vision
    2. "Classical theory" is a package that not only exagger-ates the importance of a few great men but in the same gesture excludesor discredits the noncanonical. The sociologists of the late 19th century,to do them justice, were not like this. They had a sense of adventure, askepticism about authority, and a breadth of interest, which we could stilldo with.I t follows that no repair job on the canon will meet contemporary intel-lectual needs; a revised pseudohistory of founding fathers (e.g., Turner1993) does not help. But throwing away the discipline's history (Chafetz1993) is no answer either. This would leave us with the consequences ofhistory and no grasp of their causes.What we need instead of "classical theory" is better history-sociologi-cal history-and an inclusive way of doing theory. Sociology can be intro-duced to students not as a story of "great men" but as a practice shapedby the social relations that made it possible. The full range of intellectualswho produced "theories of society" can be recovered for this history, in-cluding the feminists, anarchists, and colonials who were erased from thecanonical story. The exclusions constructing the discipline can becomepart of the discipline's self-knowledge


    3. The teaching of the canon in American graduate education did, never-theless, consolidate the ideology of professionalism in sociology that theempiricists of the 1920s struggled to establish. As Stinchcombe (1982) ob-served, reference to the classics has become a badge of membership in aprofessional community. But that membership comes complete with thepatterns of hegemony inscribed in the canon. It thus becomes importantto consider not only which writers are included and excluded, but alsowhich problems.This is particularly important in relation to the formative issue of em-pire. The making of the canon deleted the discourse of imperialism fromsociology. Those Comtean notables whose texts had most explicitly con-cerned the primitive, the concept of progress, racial hierarchies, and gen-der and population issues failed to be canonized. ("Spencer is dead.")Those texts of canonized authors that most clearly bore the mark of em-pire, such as L'Anne'e sociologique, Durkheim's ([I9121 1995) The Elemen-tary Forms of the Religious Life, or Weber's inaugural lecture "The Na-tional State and Economic Policy" ([I8951 1989), were the least likely tobe used in the pedagogy of "classics."This had the desirable effect of deleting open racism from the disci-pline's theoretical core. It had the undesirable effect of excusing most soci-ologists from thinking about global society at all. Ironically the majorattempt to reverse this, "world-systems theory," has been institutionallydefined as a new specialization.Gender, sexuality, and race relations, which were core issues for evolu-tionary sociology, were pushed to the margins in the process of canonformation.

      This validates the idea that the construction of the canon was done in a way that evades sociologies origins in colonialism.

    4. In this genre of writing, sociologists would posit an original stateof society (or some aspect of society, such as law, morality, or marriage),then speculate on the process of evolution that must have led forwardfrom there

      Stadial development

    5. civilization of the metropole and an Other whose main feature was itsprimitiveness. I will call this the idea of "global difference."

      This is similar to anthropology. Elsewhere I've seen noted that anthropology has had to reckon more with its role in colonialism as compared to sociology (which could imply that the construction of a canon could in part be an evasion of this as well as a way to differentiate the field from other social sciences, although this is just my own conjecture).

  3. Dec 2022
    1. Workplace Democracy. Employees typically spend around half of their waking hours at their workplace. All too often, they are excluded from any democratic decision-making beyond what’s for lunch. The transformative potential of fostering workplace democracy is enormous, and data suggest that it pays off in terms of productivity, job quality, job satisfaction, and employee retention.

      Thinking about how learning and evaluation can further workplace democracy

    2. The work of the late Elinor Ostrom, who was awarded the Nobel Prize in Economic Sciences in 2009, points to the fallacy of this assumption. Her Nobel Prize lecture is titled “Beyond Markets and States: Polycentric Governance of Complex Economic Systems.” Ostrom’s research focused on the organization of what she called “common pool resources.” To pick a prominent example, the free-for-all dumping of carbon into the air could be considered a degradation of the common pool resource of our global atmosphere, resulting in climate change. Among her conclusions: more often than not, effective resource management solutions come from the bottom rather than the top. Ostrom also argued that “a core goal of public policy should be to facilitate the development of institutions that bring out the best in humans.”20


    1. Saying that a goal should be to close a racial wealth gap does not imply an engagement with the persistent hoarding of wealth by elites.

      "Yes and" approach (deconstructing binaries)

    2. strategies need to be designed that target structural changes that support groups’ reach and paths to the universal goal.

      How does TU anticipate that some groups' goals may be in conflict with the goals of other groups? E.g., when a groups goals are formed within the context of white supremacy? Also thinking about the idea of a universal goal and potential issues or ways this could be coopted or regressive--seems to be addressed by the idea that goals aren't just "everyone has the same level of wealth" but also--everyone has what they need to thrive, which requires solidarity and cooperation.

    3. While discussions may acknowledge additional disparities—recognizing the gaps between additional groups and the most favored groups—the approach directs our gaze to a binary. The details of how groups are situated recedes and the disparity itself is foregrounded. There is much more I could add, but this may be enough to point out some of the weaknesses to this approach. The favored group becomes the benchmark and desired outcome for all groups. There is not a deep inquiry of how this group is situated or what exactly it is that it possesses, nor is there a deep inquiry into the ways different people within that group are situated. The goal for the less favored group is entirely defined by what the favored group has. What if the favored group—or different subgroups within it—are seriously lacking what is needed to flourish? Orienting a strategy to “close the gap” renders the power of defining universal targets to members of the favored group. This is problematic because the group at the top of the disparity may lack important resources. This can render invisible any attention to the needs within the apparently favored group. This also limits the aspirations for the scale of change that we seek. Transformational structural change is required, and the ambition should expand beyond tying success to what current outcomes look like.

      Based on this logic does the equity lens also implicitly set whiteness (or other hegemonic power structures) as aspirational in some ways? What are critiques of targeted universalism? This analysis sees an equity approach as disparity-based (e.g., "closing the gap") as compared to an approach that focuses on universal thriving (e.g., making sure everyone gets what they need to thrive). Also curious about examples/case studies.

    4. Compared to the frame of equality, equity represented an advance in that it recognized the need to respond to situatedness. For example, to address inequality in key areas of the economy like housing or employment requires recognizing that different groups have different relationships with those systems and structures. A shortfall of the equity approach, however, is that it encourages advocates to focus on what they want to end (disparities), rather than what they want to achieve (universal thriving).

      Strengths and limitations of the equity approach--recognizes differential relationships to systems and structures but focuses on ending disparities rather than achieving universal thriving

    5. Before the turn to engaging with equity in the 1990s, the discussion of racial justice and fairness was primarily envisioned as a call for equality. Equality means that people are treated equally, which is not as simple as it sounds. For instance, for years people debated whether equality meant equal outcomes or equal opportunity. From these debates, the concept of equity was developed to recognize that treating people with unequal starting conditions equally does little to reduce inequality.

      History of shift from equality to equity across discourse about racial justice

    1. Below, I pose four critical questions. How the Biden administration answers these questions will say a lot about whether Justice40 sets a new marker for environmental justice in the United States—or if the promise of Justice40 is squandered.

      Follow developments with Justice40 and implications for climate justice movement.

    1. Outlines three ways of looking at reparations: * Moving resources and repairing harm * Repairing relationships at multiple levels * --> Constructive view: the above plus changing the structure of how we interact with each other, how economies work, political structures work, building and rebuilding institutions and changing who has power

    2. Ecosocial Pact of the South, that talks about the construction of a solidarity economy. They talk about building a world that would have less extraction in it, not just by opposing extraction, but also by supporting things like basic income and the construction of what they call the solidarity economy.

      Is this the origin of the term solidarity economy?

    1. It used to be that organizations looking to pick up signals of change in realms outside of their project — system-level change — had a limited set of methods to use. Some might have tried outcome mapping or harvesting, or used developmental evaluation; more often than not, such changes went unmeasured. Now, there is a wider set of methodological options, each specialized for certain functions, such as tracing how the organization’s efforts might have contributed to a policy or influence win. A few examples are ripple effect mapping, outcome harvesting, sentinel indicators, process tracing and the what else test.

      Examples of methods for evaluating systems change

    1. The Fictions of Modern Social Theory Fiction about rise of West divorced from colonialism and its relationship to the rise of modern social theory. At best, colonialism thought of as stage on way from feudalism to capitalism. Argument here is a renewal of sociological theory with colonialism at core. Five lessons learned from engaging with modern theorists. 1. State of Nature and stadial development - First developed by Hobbes and Lockes, used to justify inequality and differential treatment. Depends on construction of state of nature and state of society (Europe), stages of societal development, and hierarchies of societies with types of social relationships. Colonialism directly connected to emergence of modern society but comes to be attributed to late stage of feudal society with people at earlier stages of development. Taking of people seen as not just profit-making, but as civilizing. Need to move to understanding how colonial connections structure ideas of difference and domination. 2. Modern subjectivity - Modern society understood to inaugurate a distinctive type of rational individual capable of property contrasted to those incapable of or indifferent to private property. Modern reason about development of autonomy and freedom and subjecting institutions like religion to reason. Also creates possibility of self-criticism, like in Frankfurt School's critical theory. Idea of unfinished project of modernity involves idea of modernity itself as project of civilization where all premodern societies viewed as beset by traditional authority and inadequate selves and not as societies we can learn from. 3. Nation state - in development of idea of modern individual, two forms of sovereignty outlined--one individualist, other political authority that guarantees authority of individuals. Early on, associated with commonwealth and extension of colonial territory. However, political authority comes to be associated with European nation states, understood to have sole monopoly on violence due to responsibility to citizens, but not all citizens regarded as equals. All European nation states and settler offshoots either empires or supported construction of empires by movement of people. Subjects of empire are denied inclusion in community to whom patrimony of empire is distributed and after decolonization denied citizenship. Immigrants seen as threats to solidarity of nation and its social contract which excludes them. 4. Class and formally free labor - Marx recognized society developing as class-divided society, associated with system of private property. On basis of development of class division, proletarianization would lead to socialism. Class division depends on centrality of formally free labor, however, this is called into question once we understand colonial nature of modernity. Commodified labor power doesn't develop as central form of capitalism, and capitalist states able to divide their populations between national citizens and colonial subjects. Du Bois noted this provides possibilities of decommodification of labor power within metropole using colonial patrimonies in provision of welfare denied to those in larger empire. At same time, colonial subjects denied status of free labor and subordinated with forms of indenture. Enslavement represents commodification of laborer and emancipation leads to new forms of indenture (e.g., migrant labor and seasonal visa arrangements). Both are enduring features of modernity. 5. Sociological reason - Dominant forms of sociological methods present sociological reason as ahistorical preconditions for inquiry. Sociology aligns itself with a critical project which continues project of Enlightenment. However, this project is not self-critical project it claims--in arguing this, not proposing relativism but transformation of own perspective from learning about others' experiences. First thing is recognizing limitation of one own's understanding. Colonialism structures European thought and then represents a necessity and opportunity to practice sociology differently.

  4. Nov 2022
    1. Readings:Bhambra, Gurminder K. and John Holmwood 2021. ‘Du Bois: Addressing the Colour Line’ in Colonialism and Modern Social Theory. Cambridge: PolityDu Bois, W. E. B. 1935. Black Reconstruction: An Essay toward a History of the Part which Black Folk Played in the Attempt to Reconstruct Democracy in America, 1860-1880. Philadelphia: Albert Saifer PublisherDu Bois, W. E. B. 1997 [1903]. The Souls of Black Folk. Edited and with an Introduction by David W. Blight and Robert Gooding-Williams. Boston: Bedford BooksDu Bois, W. E. B. 2007 [1945]. Color and Democracy. Introduction by Gerald Horne. Oxford: Oxford University PressItzigsohn, José and Karida L. Brown 2020. The Sociology of W. E. B. du Bois: Racialized Modernity and the Global Color Line. New York: New York University PressLewis, David Levering 2000. W. E. B. Du Bois: The Fight for Equality and the American Century, 1919-1963. New York: Henry Holt and CompanyMorris, Aldon 2015. A Scholar Denied: W.E.B. Du Bois and the Birth of Modern Sociology. Oakland: University of California Press

      Readings about Du Bois

    1. Du Bois: Addressing the Colour Line * W.E.B. Du Bois was freeborn in 1869 in MA, five years after the Emancipation Proclamation and contemporary with Weber and Durkheim. As a teenager, he saw Jim Crow laws undoing the gains from Reconstruction. * So far, theories in this series have discussed universal claims confounded by racialized difference. Du Bois work, instead, moves from deeply embodied engagement with racist US society to a universal claim about how the global "color line" is constructed in colonialism. * Alongside Du Bois' scholarly work, he was also one of the founders of the NAACP and was very politically active. Delegate to UN, involved in pan-African caucuses, and was an anti-war activate. Ambivalent towards US involvement in WWI, Du Bois saw African American participation as a way to move towards equal citizenship. * In The Philadelphia Negro, Du Bois pointed to social causes of poverty among Black people living in Philly. First empirical sociological study of a specific population within US (usually this title given to work of a white sociologist 20 years later). Sociology in US started in universities of Philadelphia in Atlanta in 1890s, not at University of Chicago in 1920s. * As Du Bois became more active politically, he saw importance of linking Black struggles in US to global struggles. * Du Bois work on reconstruction challenged notion that it had failed because suffrage had been extended too quickly and Southern institutions had been unjustly dismantled (Dunning school--thought it a tyrannical overreach into white society). This understand was fundamental to Jim Crow laws. Du Bois clear that it was not a failer, but had been opposed and subverted. Three key benefits: brought about democratic govt, established free public schools, and address poverty across the color line. Black Reconstruction in America represented a narrative shift, and argued strongly for contributions made by African Americans and wrote emancipated enslaved people back into the narrative. This points to the gap in the dominant history, and as Du Bois said "to regard the truth as more important than the defence of the white race". * Broader aim of Du Bois work was focused on social theory and its narratives. Du Bois wished reconstruction and enslavement to be an upheaval of humanity, e.g. as Weber would have said, a world-historical event. * Wrote about the color line in The Souls of Black Folk and later in The World and Africa: Color and Democracy wrote that colonialism was the issue most needing to be addressed. For a long time, he argued for the need for solidarity and to address the disenfranchisement of Black people in the US, the colonization of India, and the partition of Africa as linked issues. * Du Bois prescient about links between colonized populations inside and outside of colonizing countries. Democracy in America and Europe impedes democracy in Asia and Africa. Until these issues addressed across the board, democracy cannot develop satisfactorily. * Du Bois argued for race to be understood as a product of racism.

    1. The Durkheimian School and Colonialism: Exploring the Constitutive Paradox’

      I'd like to find and read this at some point

    1. Durkheim: Modernity and Community * Often argued that Durkheim is most conservative of theorists. He came from a Jewish family and was born in France, in a part that was occupied between German troops between 1870 and 1873. * Less direct engagement with colonialism. Karen Fields (who wrote Racecraft together with her sister, Barbara Fields) sees parallels between Durkheim and DuBois as outsider sociologists. (At some point it would be interesting to read more of her work on DuBois.) * Durkheim's mechanic and organic solidarity--in traditional view, Durkheim is seeking to understand nature of individualism in society within a stadial framework. This interpretation is reinforced by his ideas about key aspects of religion. However, Fields argues that Durkheim is trying to identify a core substance common across all religions (and he is trying to claim at our core we are the same). Fields also argues that he is not arguing for a linear replacement, but that in modern society both kinds of solidarity exist. * Durkheim also regarded as a positivist, and thought that society must not be understood as the sum of actions of individuals (the system has its own characteristics--mechanical and organic solidarity are two facets of one reality). * Main problem in Durkheim's view was class conflict, with unequal power between workers and employers which required regulation by the political authorities, itself justified by regulatory mechanisms. The state is the ultimate guardian of regulatory frameworks, legitimized by individual rights it ensures. * Durkheim looked beyond France and thinking about the annexation of Alsace Lorraine thought that states need not find their destiny in expansion. In Professional Ethics and Civic Morals, argued "Societies can take their pride, not in being the greatest or the wealthiest, but in being the most just, the best organized and in possessing the best moral constitution." In this way national patriotism could become a fragment of world patriotism. Here, Durkheim fails to address false division of labor between French administrative territories and forced labor in its colonies. He also fails to discuss the colonial and imperial form of the modern state, although he does raise the rights of the individual above the rights of the state (despite the fact of colonized peoples' rights being upheld). Yet, in his discussion of the Dreyfus question, he addresses it differently from other theorists. Weber addressed from standpoint of assimilation, Marx addressed it as human emancipation (establishing a secular state), and Durkheim imagines a pluralist state of religious solidarity within a secular republic with interfaith dialogue. These views are interesting in the light of current widespread Islamophobia among white supremacist states.

    1. Key reflections on activity

      Really great resource for thinking about questions at different parts of the organizing life cycle

    2. A chief concern amongst those who engaged in this research was the time and resource that evidencing the power building work of organisers could steal from the actual task itself. Evidence collected relating to the below table might be gathered in part by interview/ check-in conducted by a third party and independent researcher. It may also be populated by organisers sharing updates or notes that they make anyway about their work. It might form the basis for their regular internal reflection. It is certainly not intended to be written up in long-hand by grantees.

      Evidencing power building work should not take away from time for actual organizing and can come from updates or notes, or external or dedicated researchers--organizers themselves do not need to be spending time writing things up (and in general we should be thinking about ways to challenge dominant communication practices around evaluation)

    3. There are two kinds of evaluation: Impact evaluation: assesses effectiveness in achieving goals.Process evaluation: determines whether activities have been implemented as intended.

      This is a bit reductive and excludes several other types of evaluation that could be useful in an organizing context

    4. The appropriateness and feasibility of ‘evaluation’What do we want evaluation for? How does our approach to evaluation fit with the approach we want to take as a funder?

      Really great questions for broader reflection

    1. The traditional RFP/RFQ process is often burdensome, impersonal and grounded by capitalistic values, which erodes relationships and instead perpetuates a relationship where the client is buying a service or product from a consultant - instead of joining in a “mutual learning partnership” and relationship.

      To read

    1. The Academy, among other forces of influence, is responsible for our educations, which recurrently manifests as hegemonic knowledge production, where carcerality, whiteness, capitalism, and cis-heteropatriarchy dominate the teaching, training, and learning of evaluation. By way of [re]producing these oppressive forces, our work is harmed by individualism – separating us from one another in our learning journeys – and the depoliticization of our inherently political work.

      Yes! Would have loved to be in this session--these are my people!

    1. This is interesting! At some point I'd like a better way to have task management and project management all be in the same place (and have it be integrated with my calendar)... I'm always moving from Excel to a task manager to my calendar and back.

    1. Beyond reading and signing the letter, what would decolonizing publication look like? Some ideas, especially for those who have accumulated power and capital through illegitimate systems: Be willing to give something up and change those systems, so that evaluators that those systems have harmed and excluded are not dependent on your consciousness for “inclusion.”Fund, support, and create opportunities for evaluation scholars and practitioners from excluded and marginalized groups to put the time into writing for publication and mass dissemination. If not subsidized, such work is cost-prohibitive to produce and subsequently accessible only to an elite few.Refuse to profit professionally at the expense of scholar-practitioners who are indigenous and women of color. Cede opportunities to those who are equipped to challenge dominant narratives, offering any support that may be necessary. Encourage other authors who have been the face of evaluation for decades to do the same.Listen to and request dialogue with other beneficiaries of current systems rather than leaning on those who they harm and exclude.Take these actions with a spirit of gratitude, inspired curiosity, and amazement (maybe even joy!) at how the world will look if we disrupt dominant narratives and embrace new visions for our world.

      Spend more time with this sometime

    1. Mia Birdsong who wrote How We Show Up: Reclaiming Community, Family, and Friendships because she brings our need for belonging and interdependence to the forefront and invites us to think about the kinds of relationships we want to have in order to get to the future we want to see

      I keep meaning to read this and never get around to it--I feel like now would be a good time because it's tied to a lot of other things I've been thinking about

    1. -Very rough notes- Zimmerman argues that Weber's political positions (including his belief in the cultural inferiority of Poles in Germany; Weber was a stout German nationalist and anti-Polish and anti-Black racist) fundamentally shaped his social science and theorizing and must be seen in that concept--Weber cannot be used to support political and scientific positions that were not his own. Weber rejected biological racism for cultural racism, and was an exponent of internal exploitation, differentiation/segregation, and subordination rather than external conquest. This is the basis for his theorizing on the role of cultural differences in explaining economic productivity (e.g., his work on various world religions, which he viewed as relatively static in essentializing ways, and their impact on economic development). Additionally, Weber himself was deeply entrenched in his own values in opposition to the value-neutrality that is often ascribed to him. Weber was worried that capitalism would destroy rural communities by freeing peasants to become workers (paternal relationships with feudal lords --> less personal relationships with managers) and that in combination with social welfare would lead to revolution (Weber was an opponent of social democracy), but also argued that capitalism would entrench the Protestant ethic/motivations within workers (e.g., stahlhartes Gehause)--the solution to this was to segregate ethnic minorities within labor markets.

    2. While in America, Weber met with Booker TWashington and W E B Du Bois, persuading the latter to contribute an articleon ‘The Negro Question in the United States’ to the Archiv fu ̈r Sozialwis-senschaft und Sozialpolitik, the journal of the Verein.57 Du Bois had alreadybegun work on this project when he had been a graduate student underSchmoller in Berlin.

      Curious what DuBois' perspective on Weber was (or what he knew of him), also on Schmoller since he studied with him

    3. These writerscounterpose Weber to what they call ‘dependency theory,’ by which theymean any suggestion that international political and economic inequalitiescontribute to global poverty.

      Right-wing academics tendency to elevate cultural explanations of differences in economic development (neoracism; this approach finds justification in Protestant Ethic) over a structural understanding of global inequality.

    4. spatial fix

      "capitalism’s insatiable drive to resolve its inner crisis tendencies by geographical expansion and geographical restructuring" from Globalization and the Spatial Fix

    1. Weber: Religion, Nation, and Empire * Weber was upper middle class, born right after unification, lived through German empire and died in 1920 just as Weimar Republic was being established. Work done in context of empire but rarely discussed. His work was influential on many areas, including Marxism and rise of capitalism. * Work formed in context of imperialism and German national interests. Weber encouraged internal colonialism via peasant smallholder farming, for example, at same time as concerns about Germanifying non-"German" populations including Jewish people--this is part of the context for Protestant Ethic. For Weber, capitalism depends on favorable material conditions as well as "spirit of capitalism" (which for Weber, needed to not be greed, needed to be Protestantism--interested in the wording here as this makes it seem like this was intentional). * Consequences of Protestant Ethic: capitalism has European personality and is also a spirit of freedom, "spirit of capitalism" can be exported (I.e., multiple modernity theory). Form of capitalism Weber treated was very colonial internally (against ethnic Poles and Jews) and externally (e.g., in Africa). Capitalism associated with settler colonialism in US, for example, via Ben Franklin. Weber thought that Confucianism prohibited growth of capitalism in China (was forcibly opened for trade via Opium Wars). * Weber's definition of the state (monopoly on violence) is commonly accepted in social sciences, but period that establishes modern state is period of expansion and external domination--this is not theorized as a characteristic of the state by Weber. Imperialism is a constitutive aspect of the modern nation state, and requires division between domestic and foreign populations. Justification for imperialism is economic dividends for nation. * Is colonialism an explanatory issue? Or only a question of values? If there are explanatory issues, we need to revisit how they shift our understandings of Weber's and others' theories.

    1. Overall argument seems to be that often people assert that Marx failed to allow for the growth of the middle class, but Harris is arguing that this is because people take Marx's simple theory of class struggle as put forward in political writings like the Communist Manifesto without qualifications. In reality, Marx was analyzing capitalism by abstracting it into what he called pure capitalism, which was characterized by conflict between the capitalist and working classes to which the middle classes were incidental because its tendency is to become absorbed by either class (and it is unclear whether he thought that the middle class would actually disappear--again, he was analyzing through the lens of an abstraction). Marx also argued that because of this vacillation, the middle class was inconsequential to the ultimate fate of capitalism. What he did not foresee was the important political role the middle class has currently (my first thought here was thinking about common left analyses of the petite bourgeois as the base of fascism, but reminding myself that it is a mistake to use a solely material analysis to understand fascism, I would like to read more current analysis on the role of the middle class within capitalism). Another question left unanswered by this is how accurate Marx's analysis is here (note: read more on hollowing out of middle class).

      Here are papers that have cited Harris' paper or stem from those papers. It looks like more recent research (e.g., from the 1980s onwards) has focused on understanding and measuring bipolarization. Some of the more widely cited recent(er) papers include: * Atkinson and Brandolini (2011) who argue for measures beyond just income to measure class. * Pressman (2010) who argues that the middle class serves as a buffer in class warfare and that Marx missed this, and is key to democracy (Tocqueville would agree). Argues that US middle class has fluctuated but on average decreased due to income polarization, and that declines in middle class are lowest in social democratic states. Worth spending more time with this paper. * Esteban and Ray (1994) focus on measures of social polarization. * Foster and Wolfson (1992) find polarization rising in the US using curved rather than ranged estimates of polarization.

      At some point would like to read more literature on polarization.

    2. B yconcentrating the control of social wealth in the hands of a few,the joint-stock company and the banks, instead of counteractingthe separation of labor from property, have served to accentuateand accelerate it. The savings of the workers and, to use a modernphrase, the diffusion of stock ownership, may create the illusion ofownership among the lower classes, but the actual power and theownership of the instruments of production vest in the greatfinanciers and industrialists. The concentration of ownership,and, thus, the expropriation of labor from the means of production, is brought about not simply by industrial combination andmonopoly66but through the financial trusts (holding companies),67promotions, speculation, the manipulation of stock, the plundering of stockholders by the directors, and the bank failures in whichthe lower classes lose their savings


    3. On the basis of this and other statements in the M a n ifesto , supporters as well as critics of Marx have imputed to him an all toosimple theory of “ increasing physical misery" which is to bemeasured by the progressive decline in working-class income


    1. Tocqueville: America and Algeria * Political instability in the early/mid-1800s in places like France and Algeria were motivating concerns for Tocqueville who was interested in the conditions necessary for political stability. * In Democracy in America and The Ancien Regime and the Revolution, Tocqueville explores the French and American revolutions as world historical moments defining modernity in relation to equality. He argues that democracy follows from pre-existing equality in the US, and in France the claim to democracy opposed hierarchies in society. While former can be represented as pure democracy, France's democracy developed as a tyranny of the majority. Tocqueville omits colonial aspects--dispossession and forced movement. * France was consolidating colonial excursions in Africa (in Algeria) around 1830 and US was expanding westward. Tocqueville anticipated a US empire. Haiti also liberated itself from French control and enslavement during years of French revolution. * Tocqueville clearly stated in one chapter of Democracy in America (that was abridged from US versions until recently) that his writing on democracy was only about one of three races living in the US, while other two were subjugated by institutions praised as embodying democracy. * Displacement of indigenous peoples contiguous with expansion of US settler state, especially with 1830 Indian Removal Act. Tocqueville believed indigenous peoples were doomed to extinction and aware of contradiction within democratic America with genocide of indigenous peoples and enslaved Africans. However, his central idea of development is stadial with previous societies being doomed. He saw presence of enslaved Africans as endangering white democratic state and system of possession and ideas of property, and described slavery as evil. * Tocqueville fails to mention Haiti (then San Domingue) and revolution leading to abolition of slavery in all French oversea colonies. Napoleon's attempt to reinstate slavery in 1802 was then an attempt to enslave citizens. Tocqueville was aware of this but suppresses it from his narrative, possibly because of threat self-abolition of slavery posed to French colonial engagements. He did concern himself, however, with an orderly process for emancipation that involved state to compensate slave owners and then be reimbursed for expenses by tax on wages of formerly enslaved peoples working for the state for a transitionary period (reparations for enslavers not for enslaved people's loss of liberty). For Tocqueville, French values of equality compatible with colonialism which included subjection of local populations (evident in letters to Algiers) and genocide. Thought French imperialism was central to its stability--empire was Tocqueville's solution to international stability. * Tocqueville's arguments in US better understood in light of his comments on Algeria--democracy in US racialized, and Tocqueville willing to restrict functioning of democracy along racialized lines in service of French colonial interests. Unifying racial theme in Tocqueville's writing is marginalization of cultures of people of color.

    2. Marx: Colonialism, Class and Capitalism * Marx wrote on capitalism, as well as colonialism, with limitations. Marx's dialectics used for a broad variety of social theories (e.g., standpoint theory, postcolonial theory), however his theory of capitalism also involves a stadial theory of development (e.g., modes of production--capitalism evolves in Europe out of feudal relations). * Marx described capitalism in terms of exploitative character derived from class division. A post-capitalist society would arise from these contradictions. Colonialism, for Marx, was part of transition from late colonialism to early capitalism (primitive accumulation of wealth). Capitalism has a separate logic from colonialism, and then expands through a separate logic of globalism called imperialism. As global expansion becomes complete, contradictions of capitalism become more evident. * Things that disrupt Marx's analysis--1) capital-labor relation not as central to capitalist modernity as Marx believed, 2) capitalism not as tightly coupled as he believed, and 3) colonialism and empire function to provide patrimony that allows welfare and wages to accrue to whiteness at capitalist metropolitan centers. * According to Abram-Harris, Marx sets out capital-labor relation in terms of theory of pure capitalism abstracted from historical contingencies which varied in locations. Processes understood as real processes to which different contingencies gradually become subsumed. In pure capitalism, labor free but must sell labor to capitalist for wages. Capitalist combines labor with other means of production to produce goods for sale on market. In effect, then, capitalism a structural contradiction b/t (a) market for labor power and (b) market for products of labor process. In (a) prices of wages are driven by competition down towards subsistence of worker, in (b) capitalist seeks to find advantage by investing in new machinery to increase productivity, but this only temporary as competition drives innovation, more producers go out of business, and ownership becomes increasingly concentrated. * For Marx, these are central conditions and consequences for capitalism: skilled labor reduced to unskilled labor and differences (race, gender, disability, etc.) eroded in process of proletarianization. On other side, wealth becomes more concentrated as capacity for political intervention to ameliorate circumstances is reduced and only intervention possible is transformation of capital-labor relation itself. * Marx argues that large-scale capitalism depends on formerly free labor and commodification of labor power. This is an approximation of what was happening in Europe, but poor description of European colonialism. In colonies, dispossession of indigenous peoples accompanied by enslavement and indenture including the Atlantic slave trade. In line with this theory of pure capitalism, Marx predicted replacement of slave labor by free labor--but where slavery was abolished, it was replaced by indentured labor--e.g., global phenomenon of plantation systems. * As Harris argues, variation in forms of labor and increased differentiation of division of labor undermine Marx's predictions of proletarianization. Where there is more or less advantaged forms of behavior, is discriminatory access to jobs. Colonialism creates new systems of difference not necessarily inherited from pre-modern past (although I think Cedric Robinson might argue that these systems did not arise out of nowhere). * Marx's view of a tightly coupled system also extended to possibilities of political intervention, which Marx thought only possible form was revolution following process of proletarianization and struggles to transform capitalism from within. E.g., eventually proletariat must understand that we need to overthrow capitalism and institute system oriented to need rather than profit. These arguments go back to 1840s when Marx discussed conditions of Moselle wine growers and how logic of capitalist political economy required market processes and outcomes, and wasn't possible politically to address their poverty but by the 1860s, Parliament was discussing things like progressive taxation and public utilities (which would have been excluded by doctrines of classical political economy of which Marx was a part). This was also at height of European empire and the possibility of expanded state budgets and spending on domestic projects. Possibilities of private (charity) and state action expanded within bounds of European nations. Patrimony of empires (philanthropy or taxes) made available in metropole (not to populations subject to taxation and extraction in empire). * Marx makes room for analyzing colonialism, but within it being subsumed by pure capitalism. Also centers a European proletariat, but which is in reality bound to consumption of global appropriated resources.

    3. Early Modern Social Theory: Europe and its ‘Others’ * See video description for an overview. * Origins of modern social thought are misrepresented by dominant accounts of their development. * 1600s: Hobbes and Locke concerned with identifying rights and obligations associated with private property, and with justifying colonialism with which they were directly, deeply engaged. Private property must be understood in context of capitalism, so that we properly understand capitalism as developing from colonialism. Hobbes "state of nature" described by him as a fiction, but thought it was similar to indigenous people native to places of "European discovery" which is a serious misrepresentation with the purpose of establishing need for government grounded in agreement among property holders for their mutual protection (indigenous people assigned to state of nature and placed outside this). Locke set to argue god-given right of self-determination, and how what was given to all could be taken into self-possession. His idea was that if you mix your labor with something you take from state of nature, you make it your private property (which is constrained only by what is due to others). Locke writing contemporarily with process of enclosure, and he justified this with an obligation to put land to use ("spoilage"). Tension of accumulation of wealth with concept of spoilage reconciled through the development of money, which could be put to other productive ventures and expand possession in a virtuous circle. Enslavement contradicts right to possession directly, but for Locke, Africans and other indigenous people existed in state of nature and their "warlike aggressions" placed them in breach of their natural rights and so they could become property. Later theorists filled in stages between state of nature and modern state using various combinations of subsistence methods with forms of property--hunter gatherer, pastoral herding, settled agriculture, and commercial society. * 1700s: Scottish Enlightenment authors like Hume, Smith developed typologies of society as stages of human development (not mentioned here, but also Rousseau). Colonial encounters conceptualized as encounters with people at different stages of development, and modernity presented as project of progress. Slavery conceptualized as feature of societies in earlier stages (e.g., agricultural or hunter-gatherer, and often equated with serfdom) at the same time that colonialism forced the expansion of forced labor. Hegel argued that slavery would be good for Africans and bad for European societies, and Hegel used opposition to slavery as mark of savagery and lack of humanity. European barbarity was ignored. * These ideas contribute to view that freedom is a product of European modernity which operates from an internal logic (which excludes/displaces colonialism from its proper context in social theory). European society (capitalist society, etc.) seen as proper focus for social theory and its conflicts (I.e., class, gender) become focus of sociology. Racism rendered as non-essential and deriving from colonialism. * John Holmwood is a former president of the BSA, educated at Cambridge. His work has focused on social stratification and the relationship between social science and explanation. His later work has concentrated on issues of pragmatism in public sociology. * Comments: Helpful analysis of how foundational European theorists' thought was deeply implicated in justifying colonialism. This analysis was missing from the Western Political Heritage class (POLI 202) I took from Ryan Davis my junior year at BYU (in 2016)--I wonder if I could find any of my old papers?

    4. Decolonizing Modern Social Theory * Calls to decolonize the university came alongside broader movements for decolonization. Issues include institutional benefits of colonialism to Western educational systems (endowments, personnel) and legacy of colonial thought in social sciences. * Examines context of development of Western theory in relation to colonialism and the subsequent erasure of that information in Western discourse. * Colonialism displaced as well in neglect of rise of European imperialism out of colonialism, in contrast we see colonialism rising out of capitalism. Colonialism and empire are seen outside the dominant framework of modernity (something prior to modernity), despite Marx, Weber, and Durkheim writing at the height of colonialism which culminated in a global war b/t colonial powers. * European history often uses stadial account of social development (e.g., see Dawn of Everything) and represents slavery as a pre-modern phenomenon. * Colonialism has not been dealt with systematically within social theory. * Purpose is to decolonize and disrupt concepts and categories (e.g., class) that "modern" social theory has given us to open up new ways of thinking about modern social thought. * Post WWII, sociology expanded and was incorporated into many curriculums worldwide. As empires declined, sociology came to focus on nation-state. At same time, European countries challenged by decolonial movements (Algeria, India, etc.) which transformed the world order although sociology did not see these conflicts as defining social structures, rather as entanglements between nations. * Issue isn't to add colonialism to sociology's covered topics, but how the absence of colonialism has shaped sociology and how including it as central reforms sociology. * Gurminder Bhambra is President of the British Sociological Association (22-24) and her current projects are on epistemological justice and reparations and on the political economy of race and colonialism. * Comments: Appreciate the dual focus on grappling with institutional benefits of colonialism to Western institutions alongside the legacy of colonial thought. Really interested in the questions posed here and their cross-applicability to other fields (e.g., evaluation). Wasn't quite clear on whether she was arguing that the linear process in the development of colonialism was capitalism --> colonialism --> empire, or if she was arguing for another (e.g., non-linear or differently ordered) conception of this process (I.e., similar to what Cedric Robinson does in Black Marxism).

      • Writing in the newsletter of the American Sociological Association's theory section in 2019, Magubane argues that the day for sociology to reckon with how its structures of knowledge (frameworks, analytical categories, methods, and data) are shaped by colonialism. She argues that the dominant sociological canon (particularly Marx, Weber, and Durkheim) serves a uniquely integrating function as a shared ritual in sociology.
      • Magubane discusses Raewyn Connell's pathbreaking article "Why is Classical Theory Classical" and hostile responses. Citing Connell, Magubane highlights the disciplinary crisis that struck sociology after WWI when sociology recentered from focusing on progress to society and difference and disorder within the metropole. She argues a point that Connell does not make but that is central to understanding the implications of decolonizing sociology is that race was central to the "difference and disorder" in the metropole. Sociology was committed to understanding racism in America, but did not do so very successfully in part due to the standpoint of many sociologists within the white, male professional managerial class. The shift to focusing on race coincided with the discipline's "deep suppression of the discipline's roots in colonialism via the construction of the classical cannon" which deleted the discourse of imperialism from sociology.
      • Decolonizing sociology will require a deep examination of its history and how it has dealt with racism. This includes reading the classics differently, to see how key concepts took shape because of theorists' engagement with the global majority, and restoring intellectuals who have been excluded from the canon (e.g., W.E.B. DuBois, Anna Julia Cooper, and Charles S. Johnson) while rigorously engage them in ways that "interrogate and emphasize their intellectual disagreements" rather than lumping them under homogenizing labels.
      • Zine Magubane is a scholar whose work focuses broadly on the intersections of gender, sexuality, race, and post-colonial studies in the United States and Southern Africa. Magubane was born in Chicago, Illinois. Her father, Bernard Magubane, was a prominent South African scholar and one of the leading anti-apartheid activists based in the United States. Magubane received her undergraduate degree in politics at Princeton University, and obtained a masters and Ph.D degree in sociology from Harvard. She currently works at Boston College.
      • Thought provoking analysis of the role of the "canon", the role of the study of racism in the re-construction of the field post-WWII, and of how to approach decolonization within the discipline. The latter provides extremely helpful insights into how to "do" social science work and engage with its theory in a decolonial way. The article focuses on the decolonization of the canon, and it would be helpful to also read discussions around disrupting colonial structures within sociology, academia, and related systems.
    1. Sociology must also face whether, how, and to what extent its interpretive frameworks, core analytical categories, methods of analysis, and data have been impacted by the colonial encounter.

      Also, looking at this process looks like in "applied" disciplines like evaluation--what are the ways in which evaluation and "its interpretive frameworks, core analytical categories, methods of analysis, and data have been impacted by the colonial encounter"

    2. A key aspect of decolonizing the sociological canon, therefore, involves reading the classics differently, with an eye to seeing how many of the concepts that are central to sociological thinking—the social organism, the social group and the processes that are central to our understanding like social cohesion, social disorganization—took the shape that they did because of the founders’ engagement with what Bhambra (2013) usefully terms “the colonial global” (295)

      Two aspects of 'decolonizing' the sociological canon pointed to here: reading the classics differently to understand how central concepts were shaped by their author's engagement with the global majority, and to restore intellectuals who have been excluded from the canon without homogenizing them under "different voices".

    3. Sociologists are, amongst the social science disciplines, the most attached to the idea of a canon. One of the reasons for this peculiar attachment is the diffuse and imprecise character of our presumed object of study—society. Whereas economists have ‘the market’, historians have ‘the past’, political science has ‘government’, and anthropology has the ‘other’, sociology has ‘society’—the ultimate abstraction. Furthermore, sociology has a proliferation of subfields that don’t even begin to approach unified coherence—culture, sports, history, gender, race, organizations, global (just to name a few) all boast their own sections under the broad disciplinary umbrella. We have neither a single unifying theory nor agreed upon method. The canon thus has a uniquely integrating function. Not in the sense that it provides a single theory or method, far from it. Rather, it provides a shared ritual.

      Would be really interested in looking at what social theory courses look like in different spaces (e.g., where does the "canon" vary and where does it stay relatively consistent)?

    1. This is not to say that every form of self-control was entirely lacking in medieval warrior society or in other societies without a complex and stable monopoly of physical violence.  The agency of individual self-control, the super-ego, the conscience or whatever we call it, is instilled, imposed and maintained in such warrior societies only in direct relation to acts of physical violence; its form matches this life in its greater contrasts and more abrupt transitions.  Compared to the self-control agency in more pacified societies, it is diffuse, unstable, only a slight barrier to violent emotional outbursts.  The fears securing socially "correct" conduct are not yet banished to remotely the same extent from the individual's consciousness into his so-called "inner life."

      Thinking about the critique I read before about how Elias' theory doesn't engage with colonial power structures and how violence doesn't increase, it's just displaced to the periphery of the colonizing society.

    2. Through the formation of monopolies of force, the threat which one man represents for another is subject to stricter control and becomes more calculable.  Everyday life is freer of sudden reversals of fortune.  Physical violence is confined to barracks; and from this store-house it breaks out only in extreme cases, in times of war or social upheaval, into individual life.  As the monopoly of certain specialist groups it is normally excluded from the life of others; and these specialists, the whole monopoly organization of force, now stand guard only in the margin of social life as a control on individual conduct.

      Interested in perspectives on violence from anarchist theorists (not the popular view of anarchy=chaos). It seems like some anarchist theorists might critique Elias' theory of state formation and its relation to self-constraint here by saying something like people are inherently self-regulating? Or maybe it relates to the development of the alternative, non-hierarchical, non-state structures (e.g., confederations).

    1. It would almost seem as though we had best completely ignore both the dogmatic foundations and the ethical theory and confine our attention to the moral practice so far as it can be determined. That, however, is not true. The various different dogmatic roots of ascetic morality did no doubt die out after terrible struggles. But the original connection with those dogmas has left behind important traces in the later undogmatic ethics; moreover, only the knowledge of the original body of ideas can help us to understand the connection of that morality with the idea of the after-life which absolutely dominated the most spiritual men of that time. Without its power, overshadowing everything else, no moral awakening which seriously influenced practical life came into being in that period.

      Interesting to follow his thought process here of deciding what is important (signal/noise)

    1. The capitalistic economy of the present day is an immense cosmos into which the individual is born, and which presents itself to him, at least as an individual, as an unalterable order of things in which he must live. It forces the individual, in so far as he is involved in the system of market relationships, to conform to capitalistic rules of action.

      Related to his concept of the "iron cage" or "steel-hard casing". Would be interested in reading more contemporary cultural analyses of capitalism (e.g., grind/hustle culture, consumerism, commodification of self, etc.).

    1. Religious Affiliation and Social Stratification

      Take all of this in context--at least according to this widely accepted 2010 study by Cantoni, his theory of the effect of Protestantism on capitalist development/economic growth is false. Also, see this 2016 survey of research on the topic by Becker, Pfaff, and Rubin starting on page 31.

    1. Order is brought into this chaos only on the condition that in every case only a part of concrete reality is interesting and significant to us, because only it is related to the cultural values with which we approach reality. Only certain sides of the infinitely complex concrete phenomenon, namely those to which we attribute a general cultural significance, are therefore worthwhile knowing. They alone are objects of causal explanation. And even this causal explanation evinces the same character; an exhaustive causal investigation of any concrete phenomena in its full reality is not only practically impossible – it is simply nonsense. We select only those causes to which are to be imputed in the individual case, the “essential” feature of an event. Where the individuality of a phenomenon is concerned, the question of causality is not a question of laws but of concrete causal relationships; it is not a question of the subsumption of the event under some general rubric as a representative case but of its imputation as a consequence of some constellation. It is in brief a question of imputation.

      Seems to be saying in order to analyze complex phenomena we need to decide on what aspects of them are important or "essential" in the context of what we are studying.

    2. The focus of attention on reality under the guidance of values which lend it significance and the selection and ordering of the phenomena which are thus affected in the light of their cultural significance is entirely different from the analysis of reality in terms of laws and general concepts. Neither of these two types of the analysis of reality has any necessary logical relationship with the other. They can coincide in individual instances but it would be most disastrous if their occasional coincidence caused us to think that they were not distinct in principle. The cultural significance of a phenomenon, e.g., the significance of exchange in a money economy, can be the fact that it exists on a mass scale as a fundamental component of modern culture. But the historical fact that it plays this role must be causally explained in order to render its cultural significance understandable. The analysis of the general aspects of exchange and the technique of the market is a – highly important and indispensable – preliminary task. For not only does this type of analysis leave unanswered the question as to how exchange historically acquired its fundamental significance in the modern world; but above all else, the fact with which we are primarily concerned, namely, the cultural significance of the money-economy – for the sake of which we are interested in the description of exchange technique, and for the sake of which alone a science exists which deals with that technique – is not derivable from any “law.”

      Seems that he's saying something along the lines of descriptive analysis is helpful as a first step to understand the cultural significance of a phenomenon, but to make sense of a phenomenon's role in the world we need to develop a causal theory of the phenomenon to understand its historical significance.

    3. Sociology (in the sense in which this highly ambiguous word is used here) is a science which attempts the interpretive understanding of social action in order thereby to arrive at a causal explanation of its course and effects. In “action” is included all human behaviour when and insofar as the acting individual attaches a subjective meaning to it. Action in this sense may be either overt or purely inward or subjective; it may consist of positive intervention in a situation, or of deliberately refraining from such intervention or passively acquiescing in the situation. Action is social insofar as, by virtue of the subjective meaning attached to it by the acting individual (or individuals), it takes account of the behaviour of others and is thereby oriented in its course.

      Weber's definition of social action

    1. With the onset of the First World War, Weber’s involvement in public life took an unexpected turn. At first a fervent patriotic supporter of the war, as virtually all German intellectuals of the time were, he grew disillusioned with the German war policies, eventually refashioning himself as one of the most vocal critics of the Kaiser government in a time of war. As a public intellectual, he issued private reports to government leaders and wrote journalistic pieces to warn against the Belgian annexation policy and the unlimited submarine warfare, which, as the war deepened, evolved into a call for overall democratization of the authoritarian state (Obrigkeitsstaat) that was Wilhelmine Germany. By 1917, Weber was campaigning vigorously for a wholesale constitutional reform for post-war Germany, including the introduction of universal suffrage and the empowerment of parliament. When defeat came in 1918, Germany found in Weber a public intellectual leader, even possibly a future statesman, with unscathed liberal credentials who was well-positioned to influence the course of post-war reconstruction. He was invited to join the draft board of the Weimar Constitution as well as the German delegation to Versaille; albeit in vain, he even ran for a parliamentary seat on the liberal Democratic Party ticket. In those capacities, however, he opposed the German Revolution (all too sensibly) and the Versaille Treaty (all too quixotically) alike, putting himself in an unsustainable position that defied the partisan alignments of the day. By all accounts, his political activities bore little fruit, except his advocacy for a robust plebiscitary presidency in the Weimar Constitution.

      Interesting when put in context with his ideas about "value-free sociology"--did he ever go back on that?

    1. One of the main concerns of recent Marxist theoryhas been to clarify the class position of such groups as salariedmanagers and professionals. The classical Marxist definition of “owner-ship versus non-ownership of the means of production,” understood asthe foundation of capitalist relations of exploitation, offers little helphere, since by this criterion all wage and salary earners would beclassified as working class

      Is this really the classical definition? Marx used the category of petite bourgeoisie

    2. classical Marxist and Weberian theory present a clearchoice between an exploitation-based and a domination-based theoryof society, recent developments in Marxist theory have tended to blurthis distinction

      People want power to be able to exploit other people vs people want power for power's sake

    3. Third, there is the straightforward materialist argument that, howeverautonomous and consequential various nonclass forms of dominationmay be, control over the material means of production remains thebasic source of power in society. Whatever their motives or origins,effective political struggles must therefore assume a class form in thesense that they must ultimately draw upon and seek to restructureaccess to these material resources. My impression is that this is theversion of the class primacy thesis that most contemporary Marxistswould adhere to, at least implicitly. The problem with this defense isthat it presumes precisely what is most contested by Weberian theory:that material resources are necessarily more important bases of powerthan political or ideological resource

      This is a really interesting discussion--would love to see a more current take on this

    4. Weber, the importance of class divisions is historically variable andcontingent. Class relations coexist with other forms of oppression andother bases of association that are independent of class and potentiallyno less important for the organization of particular societies or thetransition between types of society.

      Not all of this necessarily contradicts Marx (although it is in tension with some interpretations), and is more in line with analyses from the Black radical tradition (e.g., Cedric Robinson) and intersectional approaches developed within Black feminism. A framework like racial capitalism might synthesize these two views in some ways.

    5. According to a third view, the structural determination of class ismediated by human agency in ways that are more than epiphenome-nal. A good example is the Ehrenreich’s analysis of the formation ofwhat they call the “PMC” or “professional-managerial class.” TheEhrenreichs identify a number of structural tendencies that condition theformation of this class—notably, the growth and concentration of asocial surplus in forms that allow it to be strategically used for thereproduction of capitalist class relations—but go on to argue that theinstitutional changes associated with the emergence of the PMC “do notsimply ‘develop,’ they require the effort of more or less consciousagents” (Ehrenreich and Ehrenreich, 1979, p. 16). Like other Marxistinstrumentalists, the Ehrenreichs view structural factors as importantonly insofar as they shape the interests and political resources ofcontending classes. Whether or how those resources are actuallymobilized in the service of class interests can only be understood fromthe standpoint of an analysis of human agency. The focus of theirresearch is therefore upon the historical process by which specific actors(mainly far-sighted capitalists and middle-class reformers) consciouslyengineered a transformation of the class structure.

      Overall, each of these view assert broad statements and the reality is most likely a mixture and contextual

    1. How can the crude cults of the Australian aborigines tell us anything about religions far more advanced in value, dignity, and truth?

      Ahhh eeek this is so colonizing

    2. Durkheim insisted, it encounters a resistance in nature which destroys it; the very existence of primitive religions, therefore, assures us that they "hold to reality and express it." The symbols through which this reality is expressed, of course, may seem absurd; but we must know how to go beneath the symbol, to uncover the reality which it represents, and which gives it its meaning: "The most barbarous and the most fantastic rites and the strangest myths translate some human need, some aspect of life, either individual or social. The reasons with which the faithful justify them may be, and generally are, erroneous; but the true reasons," Durkheim concluded, "do not cease to exist" and it is the duty of science to discover them."3

      This reminds me of the approach used in Barbara and Karen Field's Racecraft.

    1. social facts, i.e., "a category of facts which present very special characteristics: they consist of manners of acting, thinking, and feeling external to the individual, which are invested with a coercive power by virtue of which they exercise control over him."

      Elsewhere I've seen folks describe social facts as social norms and institutions, in which case you could almost think of social facts as a type of systems level analysis, but I'm curious whether that actually reflects Durkheim's analysis. This wording makes it seem like Durkheim thinks they exist at the level of the conscience collective.

    1. Second, Durkheim clearly overstated the role of repressive law relative to the institutions of interdependence and reciprocity (e.g., kinship, religious ritual, economic and political alliance, etc.) in primitive societies. Malinowski's Argonauts of the Western Pacific (1922), for example, has provided ample evidence of the significance and complexity of relations of exchange among the Trobriand Islanders. In part, this may be attributed to Durkheim's ignorance (or rather dismissal) of the ethnographic literature on primitive peoples, for his pronouncements on "primitive" legal systems in The Division of Labor are largely based on inferences drawn from the Hebrew Torah, the Twelve Tables of the ancient Romans, and the laws of early Christian Europe; but he seems to have got these wrong as well.

      This seems so common within the Eurocentric canon of sociology--thinking back to David Graeber and David Wingrow's critique of Rousseau and how he based his theory of development on assumptions that didn't hold up to scrutiny.

    1. Minimum Specifications for Utilization-Focused Evaluation

      This is really helpful guidance for thinking about how to incorporate UFE into all evaluations--what needs to be included as a minimum. I appreciate that he goes back on the 17 steps a bit here--they felt overly prescriptive. * Honor the personal factor. Identify and engage primary users. Who is the evaluation for? * Be purpose driven. Focus on priority intended users. What is the purpose of the evaluation? * Facilitate process use. Be active-reactive-interactive-adaptive in engaging users in all aspects of the evaluation. * Take a full journey stance. Focus on use from beginning to end and every step along the way. How will everything that is done from beginning to end affect use? * Monitor and adapt to context changes. When the context for an evaluation changes, the evaluation may need to change. This also reminds me of the APF project management framework and USAID's adaptive management approach.

      At some point I'd like to watch the full hour webinar on UFE min specs.

    1. Who is going to use the evaluation? This meansidentifying the primary intended users of theevaluation. What needs to be done to make it as useful for them aspossible? This information should drive all otherdecisions made whilst planning and implementing theevaluation.

      These questions seem like a great entry point into using UFE across evaluations.

    1. U-FE doesn’t prescribe what particular evaluation methods or approach to adopt but rather prescribes a process for determining how to conduct any evaluation with unwavering attention to intended uses by intended users. Part II of this book presents principles-based guidance on how to conduct a utilization-focused evaluation.

      I appreciate this stance, and the idea of a principles-based rather than a steps-based approach (e.g., using steps seems to be a very Eurocentric approach to rigor--"if we follow these steps, the evaluation will be rigorous", whereas using principles allows more flexibility and adaptability to context).

    1. U-FE Complex Dynamic and Adaptive Systems Graphic:Interactions among all 17 steps

      This graphic addresses some of the questions I had previously about whether there are "phases" and does a bit better job of breaking down the still-linear assumptions inherent in that kind of language. I also wonder if there are any resources out there on blending evaluation approaches? This is something evaluators do frequently but I'm not sure I've ever actually read anyone's thoughts on how to do this effectively.

    1. Make sure intended users understand potential methods controversies and their implications Simulate use of findings: evaluation's equivalent of a dress rehearsal

      I appreciate how these steps anticipate how different audiences may engage with and process findings.

    2. The 17 Step UFE Framework

      I wonder if the choice to not organize the steps into phases was intentional? While doing this would make it more digestible, the way it is also allows the learning and evaluation team to do this in a way that makes sense for their work.

    1. The essential conditions for the existence and for the sway of the bourgeois class is the formation and augmentation of capital; the condition for capital is wage-labour. Wage-labour rests exclusively on competition between the labourers. The advance of industry, whose involuntary promoter is the bourgeoisie, replaces the isolation of the labourers, due to competition, by the revolutionary combination, due to association. The development of Modern Industry, therefore, cuts from under its feet the very foundation on which the bourgeoisie produces and appropriates products. What the bourgeoisie therefore produces, above all, are its own grave-diggers. Its fall and the victory of the proletariat are equally inevitable.

      Why fall of capitalism is inevitable, according to Marx and Engels

    2. The bourgeoisie, by the rapid improvement of all instruments of production, by the immensely facilitated means of communication, draws all, even the most barbarian, nations into civilisation. The cheap prices of commodities are the heavy artillery with which it batters down all Chinese walls, with which it forces the barbarians’ intensely obstinate hatred of foreigners to capitulate. It compels all nations, on pain of extinction, to adopt the bourgeois mode of production; it compels them to introduce what it calls civilisation into their midst, i.e., to become bourgeois themselves. In one word, it creates a world after its own image.

      This reminds me of David Harvey's concept of time-space compression.

    3. Constant revolutionising of production, uninterrupted disturbance of all social conditions, everlasting uncertainty and agitation distinguish the bourgeois epoch from all earlier ones. All fixed, fast-frozen relations, with their train of ancient and venerable prejudices and opinions, are swept away, all new-formed ones become antiquated before they can ossify. All that is solid melts into air, all that is holy is profaned, and man is at last compelled to face with sober senses his real conditions of life, and his relations with his kind. The need of a constantly expanding market for its products chases the bourgeoisie over the entire surface of the globe. It must nestle everywhere, settle everywhere, establish connexions everywhere.

      This analysis of globalization and the adaptability of capitalism is interesting in the context of Marx's predictions that the demise of capitalism would come much sooner than it has in reality (e.g., idea that while he definitely considered this, he also underestimated it).

    4. The discovery of America, the rounding of the Cape, opened up fresh ground for the rising bourgeoisie. The East-Indian and Chinese markets, the colonisation of America, trade with the colonies, the increase in the means of exchange and in commodities generally, gave to commerce, to navigation, to industry, an impulse never before known, and thereby, to the revolutionary element in the tottering feudal society, a rapid development.

      See Cedric Robinson's argument in Black Marxism that while Marx definitely considered slavery and colonialism when analyzing capitalism, he did not analyze it as central to the development of capitalism (which Robinson does in Black Marxism and argues that all capitalism is racial capitalism).

    1. We have considered the act of estranging practical human activity, labor, in two of its aspects. (1) The relation of the worker to the product of labor as an alien object exercising power over him. This relation is at the same time the relation to the sensuous external world, to the objects of nature, as an alien world inimically opposed to him. (2) The relation of labor to the act of production within the labor process. This relation is the relation of the worker to his own activity as an alien activity not belonging to him; it is activity as suffering, strength as weakness, begetting as emasculating, the worker’s own physical and mental energy, his personal life – for what is life but activity? – as an activity which is turned against him, independent of him and not belonging to him. Here we have self-estrangement, as previously we had the estrangement of the thing. ||XXIV| We have still a third aspect of estranged labor to deduce from the two already considered. Man is a species-being [20], not only because in practice and in theory he adopts the species (his own as well as those of other things) as his object, but – and this is only another way of expressing it – also because he treats himself as the actual, living species; because he treats himself as a universal and therefore a free being. The life of the species, both in man and in animals, consists physically in the fact that man (like the animal) lives on organic nature; and the more universal man (or the animal) is, the more universal is the sphere of inorganic nature on which he lives. Just as plants, animals, stones, air, light, etc., constitute theoretically a part of human consciousness, partly as objects of natural science, partly as objects of art – his spiritual inorganic nature, spiritual nourishment which he must first prepare to make palatable and digestible – so also in the realm of practice they constitute a part of human life and human activity. Physically man lives only on these products of nature, whether they appear in the form of food, heating, clothes, a dwelling, etc. The universality of man appears in practice precisely in the universality which makes all nature his inorganic body – both inasmuch as nature is (1) his direct means of life, and (2) the material, the object, and the instrument of his life activity. Nature is man’s inorganic body – nature, that is, insofar as it is not itself human body. Man lives on nature – means that nature is his body, with which he must remain in continuous interchange if he is not to die. That man’s physical and spiritual life is linked to nature means simply that nature is linked to itself, for man is a part of nature. In estranging from man (1) nature, and (2) himself, his own active functions, his life activity, estranged labor estranges the species from man. It changes for him the life of the species into a means of individual life. First it estranges the life of the species and individual life, and secondly it makes individual life in its abstract form the purpose of the life of the species, likewise in its abstract and estranged form.

      Three of the four aspects of alienation of labor (product, production process, from fellow workers, and from self as human being)

    2. But on analysis of this concept it becomes clear that though private property appears to be the reason, the cause of alienated labor, it is rather its consequence, just as the gods are originally not the cause but the effect of man’s intellectual confusion.

      Marx argues this elsewhere as well (that relationships of production --> private property and not vice versa)

    3. What, then, constitutes the alienation of labor? First, the fact that labor is external to the worker, i.e., it does not belong to his intrinsic nature; that in his work, therefore, he does not affirm himself but denies himself, does not feel content but unhappy, does not develop freely his physical and mental energy but mortifies his body and ruins his mind. The worker therefore only feels himself outside his work, and in his work feels outside himself. He feels at home when he is not working, and when he is working he does not feel at home. His labor is therefore not voluntary, but coerced; it is forced labor. It is therefore not the satisfaction of a need; it is merely a means to satisfy needs external to it. Its alien character emerges clearly in the fact that as soon as no physical or other compulsion exists, labor is shunned like the plague. External labor, labor in which man alienates himself, is a labor of self-sacrifice, of mortification. Lastly, the external character of labor for the worker appears in the fact that it is not his own, but someone else’s, that it does not belong to him, that in it he belongs, not to himself, but to another. Just as in religion the spontaneous activity of the human imagination, of the human brain and the human heart, operates on the individual independently of him – that is, operates as an alien, divine or diabolical activity – so is the worker’s activity not his spontaneous activity. It belongs to another; it is the loss of his self. As a result, therefore, man (the worker) only feels himself freely active in his animal functions – eating, drinking, procreating, or at most in his dwelling and in dressing-up, etc.; and in his human functions he no longer feels himself to be anything but an animal. What is animal becomes human and what is human becomes animal.

      Marx's definition of the alienation of labor

    1. Had Marx developed his broader German Ideology view of ‘the production of life’, the conceptual apparatus of historical materialism might have looked very different. Mode, forces and relations of production would be very much wider notions even than those I have advocated here – if indeed those concepts, or only those concepts. remained the fundamental categories of historical materialism at all. Class relations would remain a central dimension, but would not necessarily be seen as the central – let alone the exclusive – dimension of social structure. Age and gender relations would be as integral an analytic concern. One way forward, again mooted in The German Ideology, might be to approach all these social relationships as forms of division of social labour – labour, however, extending well beyond just those activities which produce material goods. And to think the unthinkable, we might not even be differentiating social formations, or periodising history, in the traditional Marxist ways at all.

      This is a really interesting line of thought and also seems to be more in line with intersectional feminism

    2. The final issue I wish briefly to air in this chapter – and I do not pretend to do any more – concerns what I take to be a serious lacuna in Marx’s work, and the historical materialist tradition generally. This is the question of human reproduction, and its connection with ‘material production’ as Marx conceived it. The context in which I raise this (and what has made it visible as a theoretical problem) is, of course, the renaissance of feminist scholarship in recent years, which questions the paradigms of all classical sociologies, including Marxism. I have argued that Marx’s conception of the ‘material groundwork’ (1867a: 80) of society was far broader than that normally ascribed to him. The question I want to raise here is: was that conception sufficiently broad – or could it be made sufficiently broad – to accommodate (without subordinating) the undoubted sociological insights of feminist analysis?

      This is related to theories of social reproduction from Marxist feminism

    3. Greg McLennan (1981: 17 ff.), criticising an earlier (and less elaborated) formulation of this argument, has expressed the worry that so open a definitional criterion of production relations might be satisfied by random empirical evidence. His concern is that everything will be collapsed into a vague concept of ‘social relations’, and historical materialism lose its distinctiveness.

      I've wondered sort of this same thing--what is the usefulness or analytical value of historical materialism as a mode of analysis if you can't really separate base and superstructure in any meaningful way? Sayer here says:

      social relation x is essential to, and therefore a production relation of, mode of production y, the case needs to be empirically argued, and counter-claims can be empirically evaluated

      which seems to be saying that the core of historical materialism is the argument that we can hypothesize that X social relations are an essential component of the mode of production for Y thing (the other being the forces of production like labor and the means of production), and that we can evaluate this claim empirically. Like he says below, claims that historical materialism is arbitrary only pose a risk to its validity if the types of claims above are not empirically evaluated a posteriori and in specific contexts. This is a lot more nuanced way of explaining historical materialism than I've heard elsewhere (honestly in a lot of current left wing discourse like podcasts, blogs, etc. historical materialism gets thrown around in a lot of vague and handwavy ways).

    4. Legally formalised property relations can then coherently be conceived as both distinct from and expressive of production relations thus defined, exactly as the 1859 Preface seems to require. This resolves Acton’s problem of the independent conceivability of economic structure and superstructure. Cohen further argues, not unreasonably, that the fact that economic variables may not be empirically observable independently of the non-economic variables they are held to determine does not of itself invalidate the claim of determination.

      Note that Sayer is arguing against Cohen's stance here and argues that Marx himself did not see the two as necessarily separate (see the fruit vs lemon analogy later).

    5. There is simply no way, for any of these pre-capitalist socioeconomic formations, that we can even begin to exclude ‘superstructural’ terms from the very definition of ‘economic structures’. To do so would make nonsense of Marx’s entire analysis. It would also render the societies at issue incomprehensible.

      Seems to be arguing here that Marx never meant for the base and superstructure to be mutually exclusive.

    6. I have already quoted The Poverty of Philosophy on the impossibility of defining property as ‘an independent relation, a category apart, an abstract and eternal idea’ (above, p. 21). ‘Moralising Criticism and Critical Morality’, a text dating from the same year, agrees: ‘private property, for instance, is not a simple relation or even an abstract concept, but consists in the totality of the bourgeois relations of production’ (1847c: 337). In both cases Marx defines property in terms of production relations, rather than the other way about. The production relations in question are always historically specific – the relations of a given mode of production – and property therefore emphatically a historical category. Marx’s approach here contrasts sharply with Cohen’s or Balibar’s, both of whom, as we have seen, seek to ground the concept of production relations on a transhistorical, albeit rechtsfrei, concept of property.

      Marx's approach to defining property conflicts with Cohen's interpretation

    7. Certainly we may choose to define the class ‘property’, in general and abstractly, in ways which exclude ‘superstructural’ terms. There may even be a point in doing so, in so far as such a definition enables us to classify certain legal and non-legal forms of relationship as kindred phenomena, which we certainly could not do if we included legal criteria in property’s general concept. Thus far we may go along with Cohen against Acton. To do so is also consistent with Marx, who undoubtedly did take pains to insist that relations which were substantially property relations could exist without being legally expressed as such, as in passages as this

      If I understand correctly, what Sayer is arguing here is along the lines of that Marx's "base" should be interpreted as theoretical/abstract, which takes concrete forms in the superstructure (and that taking this stance lets us critique Thompson and Acton's arguments that you can't separate the two in practice).

    8. absurd practices of idealist philosophy. One of these is the fallacy of reification, or misplaced concreteness: mistaking abstract concepts for real entities

      reification fallacy - confusing a model with reality (source)

    9. rechtsfrei

      "not legal"

    10. Derek Sayer
    1. Again it must be emphasized that Marx's aim is not limited to the emancipation of the working class, but the emancipation of the human being through the restitution of the unalienated and hence free activity of all men, and a society in which man, and not the production of things, is the aim, in which man ceases to be "a crippled monstrosity, and becomes a fully developed human being."

      This reminds me a lot of this little clip of Murray Bookchin talking about work as play

    2. existentialist philosophy

      Fromm thinks that Marx is a humanist existentialist. See this critique from George Novack:

      Are existentialism and Marxism compatible? Are they opposites or affinities? Can they be synthesised into a coherent unit?

      Most interpreters and adherents of existentialism, especially the theists among them, do not think the two are reconcilable. They reject Marxism totally because it fails to recognise what to them is the most meaningful aspect of being: the sovereign subjectivity and dignity of the individual. They maintain that materialist theory debases people to mere objects while socialist practice stamps out personal freedom.

      Orthodox Marxists no less firmly insist that the contending philosophies have far too many principled differences to be welded into one.

      In between stand a variegated group who agree with Sartre that the two can be fused into a single alloy that will reinforce both. In the United States the noted psychoanalytical sociologist Erich Fromm is the most ardent champion of the thesis that existentialism and Marxism are substantially identical. In Marx’s Concept of Man (1961), which presents Fromm’s concept of Marx, he asserts that Marx’s thinking is humanist existentialism. The doctrines appear alike to him since both protest against the alienation in modern society and seek ways to overcome it. “Marx’s philosophy”, he writes, “constitutes a spiritual existentialism in secular language and because of this spiritual quality is opposed to the materialistic practice and thinly disguised materialistic philosophy of our age. Marx’s aim, socialism, based on his theory of man, is essentially prophetic Messianism in the language of the 19th century.”

      This transmutation of the materialist Marx into a precursor and preacher of existentialism is typical of radical humanists of very different backgrounds and beliefs; Fromm is their chief American representative They locate the “true” Marx in the early Economic and Philosophic Manuscripts of 1844, which mark transitional stages of his development, instead of in the ripe conclusions of his mature thoughts. They contend that Marx has been misrepresented as a crude dialectical materialist by his orthodox disciples from Engels to Lenin—until the radical humanists revealed that he really was an ethical existentialist.

      Fromm’s equation of dialectical materialism with existentialism is as ill-founded as his astonishing statement that “Marx’s atheism is the most advanced form of rational mysticism”. The atheistic Marx is no more a mystic than the Marx of scientific socialism is an existentialist.

    3. Idolatry is always the worship of something into which man has put his own creative powers, and to which he now submits, instead of experiencing himself in his creative act.

      Personal note that this interpretation is fascinating in contrast with how I was taught the concept of idolatry growing up as a Mormon. It's also related to conversations I've had with friends before about how certain parts of Mormon religion (e.g., idea of receiving promptings from the Holy Spirit) alienate you from understanding yourself--by externalizing your own feelings you grow to trust yourself less.

    4. Erich Fromm
    1. Hence that force, if at all necessary, can give, so to speak, only the last push to a development which has virtually already taken place, but it can never produce anything truly new

      Reminds me of Trotsky's theory of permanent revolution

    2. It should also be noted that for Marx science itself and all powers inherent in man are part of the productive forces which interact with the forces of nature. Even as far as the influence of ideas on human evolution is concerned, Marx was by no means as oblivious to their power as the popular interpretation of his work makes it appear. His argument was not against ideas, but against ideas which were not rooted in the human and social reality, which were not, to use Hegel's term, "a real possibility." Most of all, he never forgot that not only do circumstances make man; man also makes circumstances. The following passage should make clear how erroneous it is to interpret Marx as if he, like many philosophers of the enlightenment and many sociologists of today, gave man a passive role in the historical process, as if he saw him as the passive object of circumstances:

      Marx often interpreted as overly deterministic (e.g., base --> superstructure), here Fromm arguing that Marx was clear about there being a reciprocal relationship

    3. Marx, like Spinoza and later Freud, believed that most of what men consciously think is "false" consciousness, is ideology and rationalization; that the true mainsprings of man's actions are unconscious to him. According to Freud, they are rooted in man's libidinal strivings; according to Marx, they are rooted in the whole social organization of man which directs his consciousness in certain directions. and blocks him from being aware of certain facts and experiences.

      E.g., often we are not aware of the ideological nature of our ideas and what the roots of those ideas are--this is why critical consciousness is so important

    4. Erich Fromm

      Context: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Marx's_Concept_of_Man - psychoanalyst Erich Fromm writing about Marx's theory of human nature

    1. The ideas of the ruling class are in every epoch the ruling ideas, i.e. the class which is the ruling material force of society, is at the same time its ruling intellectual force. The class which has the means of material production at its disposal, has control at the same time over the means of mental production, so that thereby, generally speaking, the ideas of those who lack the means of mental production are subject to it. The ruling ideas are nothing more than the ideal expression of the dominant material relationships, the dominant material relationships grasped as ideas; hence of the relationships which make the one class the ruling one, therefore, the ideas of its dominance.

      Knowledge production also determined by relationships of production

    2. Feuerbach
    3. and thereby thinks it possible to change the word “communist,” which in the real world means the follower of a definite revolutionary party, into a mere category. Feuerbach’s whole deduction with regard to the relation of men to one another goes only so far as to prove that men need and always have needed each other. He wants to establish consciousness of this fact, that is to say, like the other theorists, merely to produce a correct consciousness about an existing fact; whereas for the real communist it is a question of overthrowing the existing state of things

      Not sure if I'm understanding this right, but it seems like here he is critiquing Feuerbach for calling himself a communist but lacking praxis? E.g., being a communist is not about having the correct understanding but about changing "the existing state of things".

    4. explains the formation of ideas from material practice; and accordingly it comes to the conclusion that all forms and products of consciousness cannot be dissolved by mental criticism, by resolution into “self-consciousness” or transformation into “apparitions,” “spectres,” “fancies,” etc. but only by the practical overthrow of the actual social relations which gave rise to this idealistic humbug; that not criticism but revolution is the driving force of history, also of religion, of philosophy and all other types of theory. It shows that history does not end by being resolved into “self-consciousness as spirit of the spirit,” but that in it at each stage there is found a material result: a sum of productive forces, an historically created relation of individuals to nature and to one another, which is handed down to each generation from its predecessor; a mass of productive forces, capital funds and conditions, which, on the one hand, is indeed modified by the new generation, but also on the other prescribes for it its conditions of life and gives it a definite development, a special character. It shows that circumstances make men just as much as men make circumstances.

      Core assumption--history is not primarily driven by ideas, but by productive relationships. To understand social change, you need to look not at the history of "great ideas" (or religion or politics as he writes below), but primarily at social relationships (specifically productive relationships).