Political Marxism (from the 1970s)

Political Marxism developed mainly in the English-speaking world and has been influenced by Cultural Studies. It is characterised by a return to empirical and socio-historical research and in particular to the investigation of everyday culture, its actors and practices and class relations. Political Marxism has produced great analyses and studies, especially on the rise and assertion of capitalism – analyses and studies that often contradict common notions and assumptions, including Marxist ones.

The two Brenner debates have become particularly well known. The first was prompted, in the mid-1970s, by US historian Robert Paul Brenner's considerations on the transition from feudalism to capitalism; the second, during the late 1990s, by Brenner's contention that the leading capitalist nations have been caught, since the 1970s, in a persistent economic recession tending towards secular stagnation.

Political Marxism has also been strongly shaped by the political scientist George Comninel and the historian Ellen Meiksins Wood. One forum for debate currently associated with this approach is the blog Political Marxism and the Social Sciences.