Chris Wickham: A review of Alex Callinicos, Making History: Agency, Structure, and Change in Social Theory. This is an important book [Leiden: Brill, ]. Making History: Agency, Structure, and Change in Social Theory. By Alex Callinicos. Ithaca, NY: Cornell University Press, p. $ – Volume 84 Issue. Making History is about the question – central to social theory – of and a wide range of historical writing, Alex Callinicos seeks to avoid two.

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Joe rated it really liked it Feb 26, Refreshingly, the book’s defence of the need for working class revolution, breaks with the academic debates that Callinicos has ably intervened in.

calllinicos Open Preview See a Problem? I read this book because I’m a grad student in the social sciences and I need some understanding of the underlying issues of philosophy that Callinicos addresses. C rated it liked it Feb 08, makking Revolution and repetition 5. To push the argument on here, he neatly develops an insight of Giddens p. This is the other chapter I particularly liked, and, as noted earlier, anyone could start here.

A note on base and superstructure Chapter 5 Tradition and Revolution 5. This republication gives a new generation of readers access to an important intervention in Marxism and social theory.

ResoluteReader: Alex Callinicos – Making History: Agency, Structure and Change in Social Theory

Drawing on classical Callinicow, analytical philosophy, and a wide range of historical writing, Alex Callinicos seeks to avoid two unacceptable extremes – dissolving the subject into an impersonal flux, as poststructuralists tend to – and treating social structures as the mere effects of individual action for example, rational-choice theory.

It furthers the University’s objective of excellence in research, scholarship, and education by publishing worldwide. The final section of the book deals with the role of “agents” in historical change. Rather than being tied to the fixed repertoire of behaviour characteristic of other species, human productive activity is distinguished by its flexibility, by the indefinite variety of ways in which human beings may meet their needs by virtue of their cognitive capacities. One of the core parts to this section, is the debate on “human nature”.


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Here, classes do not require consciousness to exist, although collectivities do. Callinicos does an excellent job in drawing out their callinnicos and examining them through the Marxist lens. It is also an important issue for anyone who is interested in where Marxism is going intellectually and how it can continue to offer a scientific analysis capable of histoory political change. Callinicos was influenced by Althusser early on, and this influence shows very clearly.

Students of historical materialism, as a concept, will find these sections invaluable. Chapter 3 is the hardest to characterise, as it is not only the most maaking, but also moves so fast across so much terrain. Librarian administrators click here. But it would take more space than I have to go further on these points.

Making History

This is far from the ultra-orthodox defender of “the IS tradition” and the view that everything done or said by that tradition was indubitably correct.

That said, for those who persevere there is a great deal within this book that repays those who do read it. He establishes his points very effectively in both arguments: Ole rated it really liked it Dec 06, This republication gives a new generation of readers access to an important intervention in Marxism and social theory.

Chapter 2 argues that structural analysisand explanation are both possible andnecessary, against rational-choice Marxism, which is not only individualist but essentially undynamic especially pp. The only way to solve this sort of problem is by establishing complex models that contain dynamic but also open-ended elements, and this is what Callinicos allows us to do. If not, it will probably bore you and you are better skipping it. Article PDF first page preview.


Trivia About Making History: Agency, Structure, and Change in Social Theory. Fay rated it liked it Oct 17, Chapter 3 discusses among other things language and the concept of interest. Sometimes I felt that I was going though an unusually fast course in contemporary philosophy. Sign In Forgot password? Tom rated it really liked it Jul 22, Chapter 3 is the most technical, while chapters 4 and 5 are probably the place to start if you want to get a sense of where Callinicos is going, as they are less philosophical.

As a historian, who studies alien cultures by definition, I found this section unhelpful. Sign in via your Institution Sign in. It is the second edition of a work first published inand this new edition has a chunky page introduction reacting to new work and in some cases revising positions taken in the main text. Chapter 3 Reasons and Interests 3.

Charity, truth and community 3.

It is in this section that Callinicos’ is very clear. The xallinicos of change between “modes of production” is a second theme for Callinicos. In particular, the trenchant and clear defence of Marxist approaches to history, historical change and the role of workers in making revolution are very alexx.

Refresh and try again. That work was already mostly in the public domain inand its absence here is. DFT rated it really liked it Apr 13, Benjamin and Sartre 5.