Radical Sociology

By J. David Colfax; Jack L. Roach | Go to book overview
Save to active project

The Crisis in Marxist Sociology *


for Henri Lefebvre


We confront a paradox. Never before has Marxism been so influential upon bourgeois sociology (which we may define as sociology as practiced by bourgeois professors who are not Marxists, in contra distinction to their—no less bourgeois—colleagues who are Marxists), never before has it been analyzed, criticized, and discussed so extensively. The utterly indefensible political restrictions which inhibited the development of a Marxist sociology (or, indeed, of critical Marxist thought in general) in the state socialist societies are beginning to weaken. An international Marxist discussion, ranging from London, Paris, Frankfort and Milan to Zagreb, Budapest, Prague and Warsaw (with interesting accompaniments in New York and Moscow) is in progress. Nevertheless, there is a crisis in Marxism and particularly in Marxist sociology: it is the crisis itself which renders the current discussion at once so agitated and so fruitful.

The notion of a crisis requires, in this case, explication. A doctrinal or theoretic crisis in a system of thought occurs when either of two sets of abstract conditions obtains. In one case the possibilities of internal development of a system exhaust themselves; the system's

Reprinted in abridged form from Social Research 35, No. 2 (Summer, 1968).
AUTHOR'S NOTE—I have established a number of limitations in this essay. In particular, I have made rather free use of shorthand expressions like "Marxist sociology" and "bourgeois sociology." I understand quite well that these are in fact shorthand, that the systems of thought at issue are complex and varied, that the two types of sociology interpenetrate, and that there are serious conflicts and great differences within each grouping as well as between them. A rather full bibliography will be found in my The Crisis of Industrial Society (New York: Oxford University Press, 1969).


Notes for this page

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
Loading One moment ...
Project items
Cite this page

Cited page

Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

Cited page

Bookmark this page
Radical Sociology
Table of contents

Table of contents



Text size Smaller Larger
Search within

Search within this book

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

While we understand printed pages are helpful to our users, this limitation is necessary to help protect our publishers' copyrighted material and prevent its unlawful distribution. We are sorry for any inconvenience.
Full screen
/ 492

matching results for page

Cited passage

Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

Cited passage

Welcome to the new Questia Reader

The Questia Reader has been updated to provide you with an even better online reading experience.  It is now 100% Responsive, which means you can read our books and articles on any sized device you wish.  All of your favorite tools like notes, highlights, and citations are still here, but the way you select text has been updated to be easier to use, especially on touchscreen devices.  Here's how:

1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
2. Click or tap the last word you want to select.

OK, got it!

Thanks for trying Questia!

Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

For full access in an ad-free environment, sign up now for a FREE, 1-day trial.

Already a member? Log in now.

Are you sure you want to delete this highlight?