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Conference Panel: Revival and Renewal of Marxist Approaches

Mar 25, 2021



Time of Event:

Thursday 7-8:30 AM ET (yes, AM)

This panel is part of a broader trend of revival and renewal of Marxist approaches to law and political economy. These papers aim to use the resources offered by the Marxist tradition in such a way that takes seriously the axes of oppression, domination and exploitation.

The papers approach diverse questions using the core tools of historical materialism: a methodological commitment to the historical specificity of the present, yet also as restrained by past developments; the centering of the capitalist mode of production in the analysis of law and a presumption that political economy is determining in the final instance, even in legal fields that are not transparently related to the ‘economy’; a refusal to treat law in its current form as a transhistorical phenomenon, but rather a focus on capitalist forms of legality with a view to discerning both continuity and change; a conviction that ideas alone do not control legal developments and a turn to material relations and struggles in order to understand law as a phenomenon in flux.

At the same time, all papers reject economistic approaches to law and political economy, as well as an impoverished singling out of ‘class’ or ‘the economy’ as the centre of our analysis. Rather, the proposed papers exist within – and draw upon – long traditions of feminist, black or Third Wordlist Marxism. Relatedly, our focus on international law is animated by the conviction that the globe is the only appropriate level of analysis for the capitalist mode of production and its legalities.


Nate Holdren (Drake University), “‘Considerations on Marxist Legal Scholarship and LPE”

Robert Knox (University of Liverpool School of Law and Social Justice), “Debt, Race and the Invention of Structural Adjustment”

Tor Krever (University of Warwick School of Law), “The innermost secret: the political-economic origins of the pirate in international law”

Mai Taha (Goldsmiths University of London School of Law), “Human Rights and the Communists: Reflections on Philosophy and Praxis”

Ntina Tzouvala (Australian National University College of Law), “The Political Economy of International Law between Indeterminacy and Structure”