Elster's Marx

Inquiry 29 (1-4):3 – 10 (1986)
Abstract
A central aim of Elster's Making Sense of Marx is to recover Marx for methodological individualism, to show that Marx, unlike many of his followers, sought to provide his explanations of macro?phenomena with micro?foundations. Though I largely share Elster's methodological commitments and his view that Marx also (intermittently) adhered to them, I question whether this makes Marx a methodological individualist. In my view, Marx practised in his best work both individualist and structuralist explanation simultaneously. In three briefer remarks I also comment on Marx's and Elster's treatment of the differences between workers? and peasants? propensities for collective action; the primacy in Marx's theories of dynamics internal to a society and his failure to recognize the importance for domestic developments of interactions with other societies and states; and finally Marx's ?progressive? values, which Elster seems to share
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