Neo-Marxism encompasses 20th-century approaches that amend or extend Marxism and Marxist theory, typically by incorporating elements from other intellectual traditions such as critical theory, psychoanalysis, or existentialism (in the case of Jean-Paul Sartre).

An example of the syncretism in neo-Marxist theory is Erik Olin Wright's theory of contradictory class locations which incorporates Weberian sociology, critical criminology and anarchism.[1] As with many uses of the prefix neo-, some theorists and groups designated as neo-Marxist have attempted to supplement the perceived deficiencies of orthodox Marxism or dialectical materialism. Many prominent neo-Marxists, such as Herbert Marcuse and other members of the Frankfurt School, have historically been sociologists and psychologists.

Neo-Marxism comes under the broader framework of the New Left. In a sociological sense, neo-Marxism adds Max Weber's broader understanding of social inequality such as status and power to Marxist philosophy. Examples of neo-Marxism include critical theory, analytical Marxism and French structural Marxism.


Neo-Marxism developed as a result of social and political problems that traditional Marxist theory was unable to sufficiently address. This iteration of thinking tended toward peaceful ideological dissemination, rather than the revolutionary and often violent methods of the past. Economically, neo-Marxist thought leaders moved beyond the era of public outcry over class warfare and attempted to design viable models to solve it. There are many different branches of neo-Marxism often not in agreement with each other and their theories. Following World War I, some neo-Marxists dissented and later formed the Frankfurt School. Toward the end of the 20th century, neo-Marxism and other Marxist theories became anathema in democratic and capitalistic Western cultures and the term attained negative connotations during the Red Scare. For this reason, social theorists of the same ideology since that time have tended to disassociate themselves from the term neo-Marxism. Examples of such thinkers include David Harvey and Jacque Fresco,[2] with some ambiguity surrounding Noam Chomsky, who has been labelled a neo-Marxist by some, but who personally disagrees with such assessments.[3][4] Some consider libertarian socialism an example of rebranded neo-Marxism.[5]

Neo-Marxist theories of development

New Symbolization Project, a critical theory club at Boise State University, held the first sustained, multi-disciplinary academic response to the Jordan Peterson phenomenon in late October 2018; notable Marxist economist Richard D. Wolff and radical theologian Peter Rollins gave the keynotes.

The neo-Marxist approach to development economics is connected with dependency and world systems theories. In these cases, the "exploitation" that classifies it as Marxist is an external one, rather than the normal "internal" exploitation of classical Marxism.[6][7]

Neo-Marxian economics

In industrial economics, the neo-Marxist approach stresses the monopolistic rather than the competitive nature of capitalism. This approach is associated with Michał Kalecki, Paul A. Baran and Paul Sweezy.[8][9]

Neo-Marxist feminist theory

Some portions of Marxist feminism have used the neo-Marxist label.[10][11] This school of thought that believes that the means of knowledge, culture and pedagogy are part of a privileged epistemology as the absence of injustice and the resultant undue enrichment in terms of production of knowledge. Neo-Marxist feminism relies heavily on critical theory and seeks to apply those theories in psychotherapy as the means of political and cultural change. Teresa McDowell and Rhea Almeida use these theories in a therapy method called "liberation based healing" which, like many other forms of Marxism, uses sample bias in the many interrelated liberties in order to magnify the "critical consciousness" of the participants towards unrest of the status quo.[12][13][14][15]

See also


  1. ^ John Scott & Gordon Marshall (eds) A Dictionary of Sociology (Article: neo-Marxism), Oxford University Press, 1998
  2. ^ Yates, Shaun (2014). Crime, Criminality & Social Revolution. UK: Clok. p. 44.
  3. ^ Cook, T. (1998). Governing with the News: News Media as a Political Institution. Chicago: University of Chicago Press, p.196.
  4. ^ Khoo, H. (2004). Noam Chomsky and Marxism: On the roots of modern "authoritarianism" - Part One. [online] Available at: [Accessed 5 Feb. 2018].
  5. ^ Rai, Milan (1995). Chomsky's Politics. Verso. p. 97.
  6. ^ Foster-Carter, A (1973) "Neo-Marxist Approaches to Development and Underdevelopment. Journal of Contemporary Asia, Vol. 3, No. 1
  7. ^ John Taylor (1974): Neo-Marxism and Underdevelopment — A Sociological Phantasy, Journal of Contemporary Asia, 4:1, 5-23
  8. ^ Kalecki, Michał (1971) Class Struggle and the Distribution of National Income (Lucha de clases y distribución del ingreso), Kyklos, Vol 24 Issue 1
  9. ^ Baran, P and Sweezy, P (1966) Monopoly Capital: An essay on the American economic and social order, Monthly Review Press, New York
  10. ^ Theresa Mcdowell "Class and classism in family therapy praxis: A Feminist, neo-marxist approach"
  11. ^ Rhea Almeida Cultural Context Model: A Liberation Based Healing Paradigm.
  12. ^ Theresa Mcdowell "Unsettling white stream pedagogy" - the great white project - 9th Annual Liberation Based Healing Conference
  14. ^ Theresa Mcdowell "Class and classism in family therapy praxis: a Feminist, neo-marxist approach"
  15. ^ Rhea Almeida Cultural Context Model: A Liberation Based Healing Paradigm.


  • Paul Blackledge; Perry Anderson (2004). Marxism, and the New Left. Merlin Press. ISBN 978-0-85036-532-0.
  • Hans Heinz Holz (1972). Strömungen und Tendenzen im Neomarxismus. München: Carl Hanser Verlag. ISBN 3-446-11650-8.
  • Horst Müller (1986). Praxis und Hoffnung. Studien zur Philosophie und Wissenschaft gesellschaftlicher Praxis von Marx bis Bloch und Lefebvre. Bochum: Germinal Verlag. ISBN 3-88663-509-0.
  • Andreas von Weiss (1970). Neomarxismus. Die Problemdiskussion im Nachfolgemarximus der Jahre 1945 bis 1970. Freiburg/München: Karl-Alber-Verlag. ISBN 3-495-47212-6.

Further reading

  • Willis, Kate. Theories and Practices of Development 2nd Edition. Routledge.

External links

Andrew Arato

Andrew Arato (Hungarian: Arató András [ˈɒrɒtoː ˈɒndraːʃ]; born 22 August 1944) is a Professor of Political and Social Theory in the Department of Sociology at The New School, best known for his influential book Civil Society and Political Theory, coauthored with Jean L. Cohen. He is also known for his work on critical theory, constitutions, and was from 1994 to 2014 co-editor of the journal Constellations with Nancy Fraser.

Australian philosophy

Australian philosophy refers to the philosophical tradition of the people of Australia and of its citizens abroad.

Binary opposition

A nebular opposition (also binary system) is a pair of related terms or concepts that are opposite in meaning. Binary opposition is the system of language and/or thought by which two theoretical opposites are strictly defined and set off against one another. It is the contrast between two mutually exclusive terms, such as on and off, up and down, left and right. Binary opposition is an important concept of structuralism, which sees such distinctions as fundamental to all language and thought. In structuralism, a binary opposition is seen as a fundamental organizer of human philosophy, culture, and language.

Binary opposition originated in Saussurean structuralist theory. According to Ferdinand de Saussure, the binary opposition is the means by which the units of language have value or meaning; each unit is defined in reciprocal determination with another term, as in binary code. It is not a contradictory relation but a structural, complementary one. Saussure demonstrated that a sign's meaning is derived from its context (syntagmatic dimension) and the group (paradigm) to which it belongs. An example of this is that one cannot conceive of 'good' if we do not understand 'evil'.Typically, one of the two opposites assumes a role of dominance over the other. The categorization of binary oppositions is "often value-laden and ethnocentric", with an illusory order and superficial meaning. Furthermore, Pieter Fourie discovered that binary oppositions have a deeper or second level of binaries that help to reinforce meaning. As an example, the concepts hero and villain involve secondary binaries: good/bad, handsome/ugly, liked/disliked, and so on.

Cosmology (philosophy)

Philosophical cosmology, philosophy of cosmology or philosophy of cosmos is a discipline directed to the philosophical contemplation of the universe as a totality, and to its conceptual foundations. It draws on several branches of philosophy—metaphysics, epistemology, philosophy of physics, philosophy of science, philosophy of mathematics, and on the fundamental theories of physics. The term cosmology was used at least as early as 1730, by German philosopher Christian Wolff, in Cosmologia Generalis.

Danish philosophy

Danish philosophy has a long tradition as part of Western philosophy.

Perhaps the most influential Danish philosopher was Søren Kierkegaard, the creator of Christian existentialism, which inspired the philosophical movement of Existentialism. Kierkegaard had a few Danish followers, including Harald Høffding, who later in his life moved on to join the movement of positivism. Among Kierkegaard's other followers include Jean-Paul Sartre who was impressed with Kierkegaard's views on the individual, and Rollo May, who helped create humanistic psychology.

Early modern philosophy

Early modern philosophy (also classical modern philosophy) is a period in the history of philosophy at the beginning or overlapping with the period known as modern philosophy.

Gustav Siewerth Academy

The Gustav Siewerth Academy (GSA) is a private university based in Weilheim-Bierbronnen in Baden-Wuerttemberg, Germany, dedicated to promote a Christian world view. The university became recognized as an institution of higher education in Germany in 1988. However, that recognition is disputed. The Academy is named after philosopher and pedagogue Gustav Siewerth and with only 13 students in 2012-13, was the smallest state-recognized institution of higher education in Germany.

The Academy was created to counteract the neo-Marxism views of the Frankfurt School of Theodor W. Adorno and Max Horkheimer. The Academy was founded as a "breeding ground of the truth" by Alma von Stockhausen, previously Professor of Philosophy at the University of Education Freiburg. She is vice rector of the Academy. Remigius Bäumer, the founding principal of the academy, served as the church historian.

List of years in philosophy

The following entries cover events related to the study of philosophy which occurred in the listed year or century.

Marxist schools of thought

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Neo-Communist Party of the Soviet Union

The Neo-Communist Party of the Soviet Union (NCPSU, Russian: Неокоммунистическая партия Советского Союза, НКПСС) was a clandestine radical left group, which existed in the Soviet Union between September 1974 and January 1985. NCPSU is seen by modern researchers as one of the first organizations of the New Left in the USSR. However, Austrian researcher Hans Azenbaum, who studied the ideology of NCPSU, tends to view this party as the one focusing on the "third way", i.e. neither capitalism, nor real socialism.

Neo-Marxian economics

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Open Marxism

Open Marxism is a school of thought which draws on libertarian socialist critiques of party communism and stresses the need for openness to praxis and history through an anti-positivist (dialectical) method grounded in the "practical reflexivity" of Karl Marx's own concepts. The "openness" in open Marxism also refers to a non-deterministic view of history in which the unpredictability of class struggle is foregrounded.The sources of open Marxism are many, from György Lukács' return to the philosophical roots of Marx's thinking to council communism and from anarchism to elements of Autonomism and situationism. Intellectual affinities with autonomist Marxism were especially strong and led to the creation of the journal The Commoner (2001–2012) following in the wake of previous open Marxist journals Arguments (1958–1962) and Common Sense (1987–1999). In the 1970s and 1980s, state-derivationist debates around the separation of the economic and the political under capitalism unfolded in the San Francisco-based working group Kapitalistate and the Conference of Socialist Economists journal Capital & Class, involving many of the theorists of Open Marxism and significantly influencing its theoretical development.Three volumes entitled Open Marxism were published by Pluto Press in the 1990s. Recent work by open Marxists has included a revaluation of Theodor W. Adorno. Those commonly associated with open Marxism include John Holloway, Simon Clarke, Werner Bonefeld, Ana C Dinerstein, Richard Gunn, Kosmas Psychopedis, Adrian Wilding, Peter Burnham, Mike Rooke, Hans-Georg Backhaus, Helmut Reichelt, Harry Cleaver, Johannes Agnoli, Kostas Axelos and Henri Lefebvre.

Open University of Sarajevo

The Open University of Sarajevo (Bosnian: Otvoreni univerzitet Sarajevo / Отворени универзитет Сарајево) is a non-profit experimental school for interactive education, social activism and public debate. Themes that the school has delt with include Neo-Marxism, Yugoslavism, psychoanalysis, Third wave feminism, Crisis theory, Post-Colonialism, Historical revisionism, Post-fascism, social constructionism, revolutionary democracy, linguistic nationalism and philosophy of existence. The school has a festival format and is organized once a year in December. It nurtures the traditions of the Praxis School - a Yugoslav Marxist humanist philosophical movement, whose members were influenced by Western Marxism and organized the Korčula Summer School. The Open University of Sarajevo was an outspoken advocate of the 2014 Bosnia and Herzegovina social riots and called for the continuation of direct democracy that was established by plenums during and subsequently after the riots. The school runs a Free-to-view platform that streams all of its content online, dubbed in various languages, and archives it on its website and Youtube channel. The organizers negate the term school, preferring to use the term platform.

Philosophy of film

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Post-Marxism is a trend in political philosophy and social theory which deconstructs Karl Marx's writings and Marxism proper, bypassing orthodox Marxism. The term post-Marxism first appeared in Ernesto Laclau and Chantal Mouffe's theoretical work Hegemony and Socialist Strategy. It can be said that post-Marxism as a political theory was developed at the University of Essex by Laclau and Mouffe. Philosophically, post-Marxism counters derivationism and essentialism (for example, it does not see economy as a foundation of politics and the state as an instrument that functions unambiguously and autonomously on behalf of the interests of a given class). Recent overviews of post-Marxism are provided by Ernesto Screpanti, Göran Therborn and Gregory Meyerson.

Structural Marxism

Structural Marxism is an approach to Marxist philosophy based on structuralism, primarily associated with the work of the French philosopher Louis Althusser and his students. It was influential in France during the 1960s and 1970s, and also came to influence philosophers, political theorists and sociologists outside France during the 1970s. Other proponents of structural Marxism were the sociologist Nicos Poulantzas and the anthropologist Maurice Godelier. Many of Althusser's students broke with structural Marxism in the late 1960s and 1970s.

Tobacco and Slaves

Tobacco and Slaves: The Development of Southern Cultures in the Chesapeake, 1680–1800, is a book written by historian Allan Kulikoff. Published in 1986, it is the first major study that synthesized the historiography of the colonial Chesapeake region of the United States. Tobacco and Slaves is a neo-Marxist study that explains the creation of a racial caste system in the tobacco-growing regions of Maryland and Virginia and the origins of southern slave society. Kulikoff uses statistics compiled from colonial court and church records, tobacco sales, and land surveys to conclude that economic, political, and social developments in the 18th-century Chesapeake established the foundations of economics, politics, and society in the 19th-century South.

Turkish philosophy

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Western Marxism

Western Marxism is a current of Marxist theory arising from Western and Central Europe in the aftermath of the 1917 October Revolution in Russia and the ascent of Leninism. The term denotes a loose collection of theorists who advanced an interpretation of Marxism distinct from that codified by the Soviet Union.The Western Marxists placed more emphasis on Marxism's philosophical and sociological aspects, and its origins in the philosophy of Georg Wilhelm Friedrich Hegel (for which reason it is sometimes called Hegelian Marxism) and what they called "Young Marx" (i.e. the more humanistic early works of Marx). Although some early figures such as György Lukács and Antonio Gramsci had been prominent in political activities, Western Marxism became primarily the reserve of the academia especially after World War II. Prominent figures included Walter Benjamin, Theodor Adorno and Max Horkheimer.

Since the 1960s, the concept has been closely associated with the New Left. While many of the Western Marxists were adherents of Marxist humanism, the term also encompasses their critics in the form of the structural Marxism of Louis Althusser.

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