Marxism, Norm Geras, and Capital

Convenors: Mark Cowling, Paul Wetherly, David Bates

Norman Geras.

Norman Geras was a Professor of Political Theory at Manchester University. He developed a liberal version of Marxism. By September 2015 the PSA Marxism Specialist Group will have organised two significant events dealing with Norman Geras’s work: last years Marxism Workshop as part of the Manchester Workshops in Political Theory, and a series of sessions at the PSA annual conference in Sheffield at Easter 2015. We are intending to produce a publication on Norman Geras’s work, either an edited volume or a special edition Studies in Marxism. Any further contributions in this area will be welcome.


The main theme of the Workshop will be issues arising from Marx’s Capital. 2017 marks the 150th anniversary of the publication of Capital Volume 1. Papers are invited on themes relating to Capital. There are numerous possibilities. Some examples are as follows:

– To what extent does Marx’s Capital provide a valid description of capitalism today? Does the erosion of Keynesian demand management actually make Marx’s work more relevant today than in the recent past?

– Do problems in Marx’s economic theory, such as the transformation problem, or the issue of whether the rate of profit really does have a secular tendency to fall mean that Marx’s work needs to be seen or as a political statement rather than accurate political economy?

– Capital is seen as a significant source for understanding Marx’s dialectic, but exactly how it should be interpreted has been a matter of much dispute.

– Capital has been seen as raising philosophical issues to do with appearance and reality, particularly associated with the concept of the fetishism of commodities and with the apparent reappearances at some points of the concept of alienation. Debate on these issues continues….

– Marx’s Capital has been seen as a guide to political struggle. To what extent is it still a reliable guide?

These are, of course, by no means the only possible themes, and papers relating to Capital, and particularly to Volume 1, are welcome.


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