Marxist methods corner

This space on our website is intended to be a place where researchers in and around the Marxist tradition can critically discuss problematic issues in methodology and research methods.

We are good in critique of dominant paradigms and misleading concepts, but how do we get beyond critique to substantive research that addresses politically relevant issues?

We may say, for example, that class, gender and race intersect but how do we show the importance of that in a particular context and how do we analyse how such intersections change?

How do we collect data on rural class structure in a way that captures dialectical change? We are concerned with processes of peasant differentiation, for example, but how do we define its dimensions and how do we measure them in ways that allow us to show change?

We know that conventional concepts are embedded in the ways that surveys and censuses collect and record information, but then how can we use such secondary sources in our research?

And how do we organize our own surveys in ways that provide answers to Marxist questions without sacrificing comparison with the results of existing research?

We hope that researchers will present here the practical answers they have found for such dilemmas in carrying out their own research.  And we hope that other researchers will query some of these methodological solutions and present alternatives.

1 Comment

  1. Carlos Muianga on July 31, 2019 at 10:48 am

    I think this space in this website is a valuable initiative, especially for young researchers who have been particularly interested in the Marxist tradition of Political Economy. It raises fundamental questions that I have been confronted in my early research concerned with the application of marxist method to investigate particular issues in agrarian change and rural (capitalist) class formation, more specifically. The questions raised here are very powerful and need to be addressed by looking at particular social contexts. Issues of data collection, survey organization and so on, are quite extensive and need to be grounded on very solid theoretical and methodological bases. For instance, how differentiation is defined and the varied forms of its manifestation and implication in particular social contexts, how rural (capitalist) classes emerge and develop and their place in processes of agrarian change are of particular relevance in this tradition. Normally we try to follow different steps from previous research on marxist tradition (which is fundamentally important), but sometimes without critically assessing the application of the ‘right methods’ to respond very particular questions in this tradition.

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