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Marx and the Global South: Connecting History and Value Theory

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)146-161
Number of pages16
JournalSociology
Volume51
Issue number1
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 1 Feb 2017

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Abstract

This article interrogates Marx’s critique of political economy in the context of the global South and southern epistemologies. It first traces the contradictory roots of a non-Eurocentric conception of history within Adam Smith. Recovering Marx’s silenced sociologies of colonialism in his writings and notebooks, it then shows that Marx incorporated colonialism and imperialism into his analysis of accumulation. The antagonism between wage-labour and capital needs to be understood as a global tendency, encompassing a hierarchy of forms of exploitation and oppression. Marx’s support for the Taiping revolution (1850–1864) played a crucial, albeit often ignored, role in his theorisation. It allowed him to recognise the living potential for anti-colonial struggles and international solidarities, thus breaking with Eurocentric accounts of history. The article concludes that it is crucial to sociology’s global futures that it reconnects with the critique of political economy, and actively learns from the anti-imperialist South.

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