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Democracy Against Capitalism: Renewing Historical Materialism

Historian and political thinker Ellen Meiksins Wood argues that theories of “postmodern” fragmentation, “difference,” and con-tingency can barely accommodate the idea of capitalism, let alone subject it to critique. In this book she sets out to renew the critical program of historical materialism by redefining its basic concepts and its theory of history in original and imaginative ways, using them to identify the specificity of capitalism as a system of social relations and political power. She goes on to explore the concept of democracy in both the ancient and modern world, examining its relation to capitalism, and raising questions about how democracy might go beyond the limits imposed on it.


  • “Reading a Wood essay is a shock to the system, demanding the reader take a position, often leaving you invigorated and slightly bruised in the process.”


Other books by Ellen Meiksins Wood