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Introduction: Themes In Historical Materialism

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Chapter Summary

This is the introductory chapter of the book titled Theory as History, which range widely across historical periods. They strike a balance between theory and history, suggesting that historians cannot construct viable models of the periods they deal with without a grasp of theory and without attempts to use it creatively. They discuss themes that are basic to Marxism but do so in ways subversive of existing orthodoxies. A Mediterranean location for early capitalism shows how flexible Marx himself was in the understanding of capitalisms history and the great possibilities that can be opened up for scientific research programmes based on a flexible and rather more sophisticated grasp of historical materialism. The dominance of a sophisticated literate bureaucracy was the hallmark of Chinas modernity, and conflicts within the state were largely conflicts within that class and its rival factions.

Keywords: Chinas modernity; early capitalism; historical materialism; Marxism



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