Theory As History: Essays on Modes of Production and Exploitation

Theory As History: Essays on Modes of Production and Exploitation

by Jairus Banaji

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Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781608461431
Publisher: Haymarket Books
Publication date: 12/06/2011
Series: Historical Materialism Book Series
Edition description: First Trade Paper Edition
Pages: 408
Product dimensions: 5.90(w) x 8.90(h) x 1.10(d)

About the Author


Jairus Banaji spent most of his academic life at Oxford. He has been a Research Associate in the Department of Development Studies, SOAS, University of London, for the past several years. He is the author of Agrarian Change in Late Antiquity (Oxford, 2007).

Table of Contents

Foreword Marcel van der Linden xi

Acknowledgements xvii

Chapter 1 Introduction: Themes in Historical Materialism 1

1.1 Questions of theory 4

1.2 A Marxist characterisation of 'Asiatic' régimes 15

1.2.1 From the Asiatic to the tributary mode: Marx, Haldon and beyond 17

1.2.2 Ruler and ruling class: configurations of the tributary mode 23

1.3 Some general conclusions 41

Chapter 2 Modes of Production in a Materialist Conception of History 45

2.1 The retreat into historical formalism 45

2.2 Produktionsweise as 'labour-process' and 'epoch of production' 50

2.3.1 Levels of abstraction in historical materialism 52

2.3.1 Wage-labour as abstract determination and determinate abstraction 52

2.3.2 Serf-owning capital 55

2.3.3 The defining role of the laws of motion 58

2.3.4 The failure of abstraction in vulgar Marxism 61

2.4 Reading history backwards 65

2.5 Slavery and the world-market 67

2.5.1 'Slavery' 67

2.5.2 The nascent world-market 71

2.6 Feudal production 72

2.6.1 The estate 72

2.6.2 Peculiarities of the 'second serfdom' 79

2.6.3 Commodity-feudalism as the pure form 82

2.6.4 Modes of production as objects of long duration 87

2.6.5 Two brief conclusions 92

2.7 Simple-commodity production: a 'determination of form' 94

2.7.1 The peasant mode of production 94

2.7.2 The simple-commodity producer as wage-slave 95

Chapter 3 Historical Arguments for a 'Logic of Deployment' in 'Precapitalist' Agriculture 103

3.1 Part I 104

3.2 Part II 107

3.3 Part III Ill

Chapter 4 Workers Before Capitalism 117

Chapter 5 The Fictions of Free Labour: Contract, Coercion and so-called Unfree Labour 131

5.1 Premises: the elusive reality of consent 131

5.2 A Marxism of liberal mystifications? 134

5.3 Forms of exploitation based on wage-labour 143

5.4 'Free contract' in Sartre's Critique 150

5.5 Summary 153

Chapter 6 Agrarian History and the Labour-Organisation of Byzantine Large Estates 155

6.1 Introduction 155

6.2 A historiography of abstractions 157

6.3 Rural stratification: geouchountes, ktetores and ergatai 159

6.4 The case for permanent labour 161

6.5 Restructuring in the later empire 166

6.6 The new estates 168

6.7 The labour-organisation of sixth-century estates 173

6.8 Conclusion 177

Chapter 7 Late Antiquity to the Early Middle Ages: What Kind of Transition? 181

7.1 Introduction: Marxist uncertainties 181

7.2 Background to the late empire 185

7.3 Unresolved issues 188

7.4 The reshaping of relations of production 190

7.4.1 The legacy of the colonate 191

7.4.2 Slavery and the post-Roman labour-force 198

7.4.3 The legacy of direct management 203

7.4.4 What happened to the aristocracy? 208

7.5 Final comments: Wickham and modes of production 210

Chapter 8 Aristocracies, Peasantries and the Framing of the Early Middle Ages 215

8.1 Introduction 215

8.2 Aristocracies 219

8.3 The agrarian watershed of the seventh century 224

8.4 Critique of Wickham 231

8.5 The East: vulnerability 240

Chapter 9 Islam, the Mediterranean and the Rise of Capitalism 251

9.1 Historiographies of capital 251

9.2 Towards a Marxist theory of commercial capitalism 255

9.3 From corporate capitalism to the earliest capitalist forms of association 258

9.4 The Arab trade-empire 262

9.5 From Genoa to Portugal 268

9.6 Company-capitalism and the advance system 270

9.7 Concluding note: merchant-capitalism and labour 273

Chapter 10 Capitalist Domination and the Small Peasantry: The Deccan Districts in the Late Nineteenth Century 277

10.1 The 'subordination of labour to capital' 277

10.2 Commodity-expansion in the Deccan districts, 1850-90 283

10.3 Structure of capital in the Deccan 292

10.4 'Interest' as surplus-value: increasing formal subsumption of labour into capital 301

10.5 The big peasantry of the Deccan 310

10.6 Peasant-differentiation 317

10.7 The stage of evolution of capitalism in the nineteenth-century Deccan 324

Chapter 11 Trajectories of Accumulation or 'Transitions' to Capitalism? 333

Chapter 12 Modes of Production: A Synthesis 349

12.1 Marxists and feudalism 353

12.2 The tributary mode 354

12.3 Periodising capitalism 356

12.4 Articulation? 359

Publications of Jairus Banaji 361

References 365

Index 393

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