Nancy Fraser: Revolutionary Empiricism?

Jorgen Sandemose


This article presents a criticism of Nancy Fraser’s influential essay “Behind Marx’s Hidden Abode. For an Expanded Conception of Capitalism”. After a short introduction determining Fraser’s theoretical stance amidst the critical waves around Karl Marx’s positions, her concept of “abodes”, thought to be hidden from Marx’s view of the capitalist order, is analyzed. Thereupon, certain limitations of her interpretation of the “economic” dimension in Marx’s work is pointed out, and also how they lead to misconceptions of the theory of the social formation as a whole. Furthermore, it is shown how Fraser is tempted to introduce ill-considered and alien elements into Marx’s view of the international economy (the world market), thereby rendering meaningless a Marxian concept of the political. Towards the end, the distinctively empiricist aura in which Fraser’s theory is presented is being criticized: It represents a rupture with any possible revolutionary theory.

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Copyright (c) 2015 Jorgen Sandemose

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Journal of Social Science Studies ISSN 2329-9150

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