In this important work of scholarship sure to reshape the landscape of critical social sciences, Raju Das offers a critique of many of the influential radical theories of class, making a spirited defense of class theory. Marxist Theory of Class for a Skeptical World critically discusses Analytical Marxist and Post-structuralist Marxist theories of class and persuasively argues for an alternative approach that is rooted in the ideas of Marx and Engels, as well as Lenin and Trotsky.
Das offers a materialist-dialectical foundation for class theory, conceptualizing class at both the transhistorical level and at the level of capitalism.
"While most of the 'Left' seems to have forgotten about class, class has not forgotten about us. For it continues to divide all of us in ways that lead to our worst problems, but also —when properly understood—to their only adequate solution. Enter Raju Das, who makes the most impressive case I've seen for why this assault on class misrepresents Marx, but, even more important, badly distorts the workings of the oppressive system in which we live, voiding any serious attempt to replace it with a better one. The subject of this book could not be more important, particularly now, and both Das' scholarship and his politics in dealing with it receive highest Marx from this reader."
—Professor Bertell Ollman, Department of Politics, NYU, author of Alienation & Dance of the Dialectic
"This book is a tour de force. It offers a bold, detailed, compelling, and historically grounded examination of the Marxian concepts of class, class relations and class exploitation, and the different ways in which they have been understood in the literature. In doing this, Raju Das demonstrates the relevance of Marxist political economy, the centrality of class for understanding economic, social and political outcomes in the current age of neoliberal capitalism, and the continuing necessity of class analysis and class activity for social transformation."
—Alfredo Saad-Filho, SOAS University of London
"An extensive and thorough exposition of the Marxist theory of class that answers criticisms, especially post-structuralist, while offering its own alternative based firmly in Marxism."
—Professor Richard Peet, Graduate School of Geography, Clark University
"Offering a careful immanent critique of Analytical and Post-Structuralist Marxisms, Raju Das persuasively argues that orthodox Marxist class analysis supplies the best framework for understanding the rapacity of contemporary capitalism, as well as the best—indeed, the only—strategy for revolutionary social transformation. Of particular value are his insistent yoking of class theory to political economy; his view of class as both a relation and a process; and his skillful deployment of such fundamental concepts as materialism, dialectics, and totality. Amidst the plethora of recent approaches to social and cultural theory that purport to decenter or marginalize class struggle as the fundamental contradiction shaping the world today, or that substitute a focus upon neoliberalism for an examination of capitalism itself, Das’s book stands out for its rigor and eloquence. This book is just what our “skeptical world” needs to hear."
—Barbara Foley, Distinguished Professor of English, Rutgers University, Newark
“This book, by Raju Das, is among the most important works on Marxist class theory to appear in recent decades.” –Joseph Choonara, International Socialism Journal