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_Determinisms and authors 27. < !------- test block: issue=_Determinisms and authors id=702 sec1name=Introduction imagetmplt=3577 ---------->
_Determinisms and authors

January 2019    Dennis R. DuBe'     702/3830

Peck, Janice, Historical Materialism
           #3830   Created 03/27/2016   Updated 03/27/2016

My thesis: media lies at the heart of the social relations of production. The artifacts of media are the history of human action.

Following text stolen from janice peck

Marx ... first proposed that the material conditions , processes and relations through which humans produce and reproduce their existence are the primary determinant of historical development and individual experience. 1

One positions ( in historical materialism ) ... views history as the product ... of inhuman forces that are autonomous, self-determining, and independent of human activity and will...

The opposing position see history as the outcome or result of humans' activity arising from their actions with /upon nature and each other in the process of producing their means of existence.


The first perspective makes the economic system (capitalist, socialist) of a given society determinate of its political structure and social relationships, while the second conceives oh the economic system and the political structure as products of political and ideological class struggle. 1

dd consumers are part of class struggle. consumption harnessed for power

consumption of ideas or technology similar process

end dd

"materialist conception of history"

first premise ... "the existence of living human individuals " in relation to nature, through which they "produce their means of subsistence" and "indirectly produce their material life" and in the process, producing themselves. What they are, therefore, coincides with their production both with what they produce and how they produce. Hende, what individuals are depends on the material conditions of their production." (p. 37) 1

Marx fundamental antagonism; class struggle over access to and control over the means and products of production and the distribution of the surplus -- that serves as the motor of history and the driving force behind historical change." 2

[d now the change through time (technologies)]

history is humanly created Men make their own history, but they do not make it just as they please; they do not make it under circumstances chosen by themselves, but under circumstances directly found, given, and transmitted from the past." p. 595) while also asserting that because human undertakings are conditions by received material conditions humans are necessarily history's authors and its products.

[marx single reference to base and superstructure]

"”Defining the economic structure of society as the “totality” of the “relations of production” and the “foundation” upon which arises a “legal and political superstructure,” he proposed that social revolution occurs when “the material productive forces of society come into conflict with the existing relations of production.” By granting primacy to the “foundation” and making “political and intellectual life” secondary and subordinate, Marx seemed to grant historical agency to abstract processes and forces. 2

note on above: the decline of nwsppr circ as a result of internet = material prod. forces in conflict with existing relatinos of production - end note on above

THIS IS THE TENSION "...Marx's definition of the economic structure as the social relations of production also placed humans -- their activities, their relations -- at the heart of the "real foundation" of society, and thus makes history a human, rather than inhuman process." 3

[CONTENT = politics, culture, ideas, [[and products]] ]

"Vulgar or orthodox marxism: equated "base" with the given state of development of the productive forces regulates all other aspects of existence (e.g. politics, culture, ideas) to the "superstructure", which was made subordinate to the demands of an autonomous, unconditioned, and self-determining base. In this version of historical materials, the nonhuman becomes primary as the technical development of the means/forces of production becomes the motor of history." 2

Jean Paul Sarte

"The essential discovery of marxism is that labour, as a historical reality and as the utilization of particular tools in an already determined social and material situation, is the real foundation of the organization or social relations." Sarte 1976 p. 152).


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