Debasing the Superstructure

Pepperell, N 2014, 'Debasing the Superstructure', in Brad West (ed.) Proceedings of the 2014 TASA Conference, Adelaide, Australia, 24-27 November 2014, pp. 1-15.


Document type: Conference Paper
Collection: Conference Papers

Title Debasing the Superstructure
Author(s) Pepperell, N
Year 2014
Conference name TASA 2014: Challenging Identities, Institutions and Communities
Conference location Adelaide, Australia
Conference dates 24-27 November 2014
Proceedings title Proceedings of the 2014 TASA Conference
Editor(s) Brad West
Publisher The Australian Sociological Association (TASA)
Place of publication Hawthorn, Australia
Start page 1
End page 15
Total pages 15
Abstract In orthodox Marxism, the base-superstructure distinction was understood as a means to demonstrate that material reproduction was the primary causal and moral driver of social transformation. This orthodox conception has been supplemented by more nuanced accounts, and also criticised for neglecting non-material aspects of social reproduction. Existing critiques, however, overlook the possibility that Marx's primary concern was not to define the relationship between material and ideal dimensions of social life, but to debase a superstructure of academic theory that understands itself as a "voice from nowhere", operating outside the social practices it analyses. In this paper, I show how Marx recurrently debases academic theory by demonstrating how it relies on forms of subjectivity generated in everyday social practice. He thereby provides a subtle, practice-theoretic, account of the mutual implicatedness of theory and practice that is compatible with recent theories of embodied cognition, and suggests productive directions for contemporary social theory.
Subjects Social Theory
History and Philosophy of the Social Sciences
History of Economic Thought
Keyword(s) Marx
Base-Superstructure
Critical Theory
Irony
Copyright notice © 2014 TASA. All Rights Reserved.
ISBN 9780646927350
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