A brief explanation of how the humanities engage with Marxism.

Photo by AJ Colores on Unsplash
  • Marxist anthropology examines the historical events and ideas that produce the institutions of any given society (2)
  • Anthropology influenced Marx and helped develop his ideas (3)
  • Marx embraced the ideas of biological evolution as evidence that the human condition was determined by a need to survive (during a time when the supernatural had been used to explain human nature) (5)
  • Marx addressed the nature/nurture debate by arguing that human nature and society are inherently intertwined. He argued that our cultural structures reflect our nature and that there isn’t another nature that exists outside of our culture (6). As Bloch writes, “Marx concluded that the purely abstract philosophical debates which had characterized such discussions [of human nature] were fruitless. Rather, Marx argued, the nature of [humanity] could only be revealed by seeing [humanity] in society, in history, and in politics. There was no point in imagining [humanity] outside of [t]his context because out of this context [humanity] was not, in any useful sense, [human]. (6)

Cultural Anthropologist in Los Angeles

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