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Marx's Grave

Marx’s Grave


Panel discussion with Laurence Cox, Jeff Goodwin, and John Krinsky.




Marxism is a body of theory that developed from and was crafted for social movements. The work of Marx and Engels represents a distillation of the experiences, debates, theories and conflicts faced by the popular movements of the nineteenth century, that sought in turn to contribute to those movements’ further development. Subsequent developments of Marxist theory in the twentieth century were intimately linked to the development of oppositional political projects across the globe, ranging from revolutionary struggles against imperialist wars and capitalism itself to anti-colonial movements and the emergence of new forms of popular assertion in the post-WWII era. And yet, if the main figures of ‘classical Marxism’ all used the term ‘movement’, none seems to have developed any explicit theorization of the term. Moreover, while Marxists have produced ground-breaking studies of specific movements, they have apparently not produced an explicit ‘theory of movements’ – that is, a theory which specifically explains the emergence, character and development of social movements. Nor have they explored how the concept of ‘movement’ might be interwoven with other foundational concepts in Marxist theory like class struggle, hegemony and revolution or human species being, alienation and praxis.

This panel discussion, based on a new edited volume, Marxism and Social Movements, which unites contributions from six continents about both contemporary and historical struggles, will explore the ways in which the study of movements and Marxist analysis can be brought into closer dialogue.

Laurence Cox directs the MA in Community Education, Equality and Social Activism at the National University of Ireland Maynooth and co-edits the activist / academic social movements journal Interface. He is co-editor of Marxism and Social Movements and of Understanding European Movements: New Social Movements, Global Justice Struggles, Anti-Austerity Protest (Routledge) as well as co-author of the forthcoming We Make Our Own History: Marxism and Social Movements in the Twilight of Neoliberalism (Pluto). He has been involved in a wide range of social movements, in Ireland and elsewhere.

Jeff Goodwin is Professor of Sociology at New YorkUniversity and a recent chair of the Collective Behavior and Social Movements section of the American Sociological Association. He is author of No Other Way Out: States and Revolutionary Movements, 1945-1991 (Cambridge), and co-editor, with James Jasper, of Passionate Politics: Emotions and Social Movements (Chicago) (also co-edited by Francesca Polletta), The Social Movements Reader, 2nd ed. (Wiley-Blackwell), and Contention in Context (Stanford).

John Krinsky is Associate Professor of Political Science at The City College of New York. He is co-editor of Marxism and Social Movements (with Colin Barker, Laurence Cox, and Alf Gunvald Nilsen; Brill 2013; Haymarket 2014) and author of Free Labor: Workfare and the Contested Language of Neoliberalism. He is on the editorial board of Social Movement Studies and Metropolitiques/Metropolitics, on the board of the Center for Place Culture and Politics, and is, with James Jasper, a convener of the Politics and Protest Workshop at the CUNYGraduateCenter. Through a combination of his activism and scholarship, he is a founding officer of the New York City Community Land Initiative and a Solidarity Board member of Community Voices Heard.

Sponsored by the Center for Place, Culture and Politics


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28 May 2013

School of Politics & International Relations
Queen Mary, University of London

Analytical and Continental political theory are divided not only over substantial issues, but also over the very nature of political theorising. Theorists working within one tradition view with scepticism the work and conclusions of theorists within the other tradition, and the two traditions often speak past one another because they do not agree what theorising amount to in the first place. Further, the division is also marked by different conceptions of politics and the political. Consequently, Analytical and Continental theorists have different understandings of the role of and relationship between philosophy and politics.

We invite contributions that address the divisions between Analytical and Continental political theory, and between liberal normative theory and post-structuralism. Is it possible to bridge the different traditions? If so, what would this entail? If divisions will remain, what is the exact nature of those divisions? Are they primarily political or philosophical? And are there approaches that eschew these divisions? Contributions can be comparative discussions between different approaches, analyses of specific debates, or readings of texts that address the divisions in an indirect way.

Paper givers should send an abstract of no more than 300 words to the conference organisers: Clayton Chin ( and Lasse Thomassen ( by 28 February 2013. Notifications by 15 March 2013.

Keynote speaker: Professor Paul Patton, University of New South Wales

Roundtable participants: Professor Paul Patton, University of New South Wales, Professor David Owen (University of Southampton) and Dr David Howarth (University of Essex)


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