Knowledge, Class, and Economics: Marxism without Guarantees surveys the “Amherst School” of non-determinist Marxist political economy, 40 years on: its core concepts, intellectual origins, diverse pathways, and enduring tensions. The volume’s 30 original essays reflect the range of perspectives and projects that comprise the Amherst School—the interdisciplinary community of scholars that has enriched and extended, while never ceasing to interrogate and recast, the anti-economistic Marxism first formulated in the mid-1970s by Stephen Resnick, Richard Wolff, and their economics Ph.D. students at the University of Massachusetts-Amherst.
The title captures the defining ideas of the Amherst School: an open-system framework that presupposes the complexity and contingency of social-historical events and the parallel “overdetermination” of the relationship between subjects and objects of inquiry, along with a novel conception of class as a process of performing, appropriating, and distributing surplus labor. In a collection of 30 original essays, chapters confront readers with the core concepts of overdetermination and class in the context of economic theory, postcolonial theory, cultural studies, continental philosophy, economic geography, economic anthropology, psychoanalysis, and literary theory/studies.
Though Resnick and Wolff’s writings serve as a focal point for this collection, their works are ultimately decentered—contested, historicized, reformulated. The topics explored will be of interest to proponents and critics of the post-structuralist/postmodern turn in Marxian theory and to students of economics as social theory across the disciplines (economics, geography, postcolonial studies, cultural studies, anthropology, sociology, political theory, philosophy, and literary studies, among others).
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For those interested in performing a review of this book for URPE’s flagship journal, Review of Radical Political Economics, please get in touch with David Barkin