The Historiography of Communism

Mike Brown
Book Cover

PB: $31.95
EAN: 978-1-59213-922-4
Publication: Dec 08

HC: $86.50
EAN: 978-1-59213-921-7
Publication: Dec 08

Ebook: $31.95
EAN: 978-1-59213-923-1

264 pages
6 x 9

A major reorientation of scholarly thought about communism and contemporary social movements

Read the Introduction (pdf).


In this fresh appraisal of communism and anti-communism, with an emphasis on the American case, respected scholar Michael E. Brown examines the methods, controversies and difficulties involved in writing the history of communism. Arguing that one important way of understanding communism—other than as a concrete political or ideological force—is as an expression of an essentially reflexive aspect of society that typically manifests itself in social movements. In this regard, Brown understands the history of communism as part of the history of society. Examining works by E. P. Thompson, Karl Marx, and Pierre Clastres, Brown develops the idea of history as an immanent feature of human activities. Taken together, the essays in this book—written over a period of 20 years–offer a distinctive approach to the connections between social theory, criticism, and historiography and to what is “social” about “social movements.”

Table of Contents

Acknowledgments Permissions 1. Introduction: Communism, Society, and History 2. History and History's Problem 3. Issues in the Historiography of Communism, Part one—Identifying the Problem 4. Issues in the Hisoriography of Communism, Part Two: Some Principles of Critical Analysis 5. Ideology and the Metaphysics of Content 6. "Society Against the State": The Fullness of the Primitive 7. Left Futures (with Randy Martin) 8. Rethinking the Crisis of Socialism (with Randy Martin) Notes Bibliography Index

About the Author(s)

Michael E. Brown is Professor in the Department of Sociology and Anthropology at Northeastern University and former Professor of Sociology at Queens College and the Graduate School of the City University of New York. He is author of Collective Behavior (with Amy Goldman) and The Production of Society as well as the co-editor (with Randy Martin, Frank Rosengarten and George Snedeker) of Recent Studies in the Politics and Culture of U.S. Communism.