Reading Poulantzas – Review in Historical Materialism

Aus der aktuellen Historical Materialism von Julian Müller:

This review discusses a collection of papers on Nicos Poulantzas’s contribution to Marxist state-theory and socialist strategy. Chapters are grouped into three subject-areas: theory and method; globalisation; political strategy. Particular attention is paid to Poulantzas’s definition of the state and methodology for investigating concrete state-forms. Poulantzas gives primacy to the balance of forces between classes, which raises two questions: Should his approach be integrated with theories which emphasise the formal aspects of the capitalist state? Can power-relations other than those between classes be integrated into a Poulantzian framework? Poulantzas’s work is also relevant to the study of globalisation and supranational actors. First, his investigations of the internationalisation of capital and different fractions of the bourgeoisie help us analyse developments since the 1970s. Second, his theory of the state and its functions provide a benchmark for assessing to which degree national states have been superseded by inter-/supranational institutions such as the EU. Regarding political strategy, the focus is on the path towards democratic socialism. Questions raised concern primarily the right mixture of struggles inside and outside the institutions of parliamentary democracy.

Historical Materialism, Volume 17, Number 4, 2009 , pp. 143-156(14)

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