The Concept of Property in Marx's Theory of History: A Defense of the Autonomy of the Socioeconomic Base

Science and Society 58 (4):392 - 414 (1994)
This paper seeks a new perspective on a long-standing ambiguity in historical materialism. The term "property," its apparent inclusion in both the economic base and the politicolegal superstructure in Marx's schema, and the consequent difficulty of asserting a causal connection between base and superstructure, are seen as deriving from intellectual influences on the young Marx. These influences conveyed certain central ideas from the history of Roman law and its treatment of property. Some implications for Marxist theory are considered.
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