Marxism Study Group
means of production and labour are the basis of the society. Therefore the social organization of a society changes as the relations between means of production and labour changes. This means that the presence of a mode of production is based on how means of production and labour enter into relationship.
What is Marxist Anthropology?
“Marx was the first to see society as a system, an identifiable creature, with its own dynamics, its own logic, its own inherent development. Later, others would describe this system differently, but they would still describe itas a system, and Marx was the first to do this in a systematic way.
As regards Marx’s own idea of what constituted the internal “glue” of the system, (-this glue being KINSHIP for our purposes)
it was clearly biased toward what is often called “the material”.
This we may understand, roughly, as the physical “stuff” without which we would not even exist.
It follows that social control of access to such physical “stuff” (food, fuel) is the key to social power.
Marx refers to this as the infrastructure of society.
On this level society is produced as such, and the basis for this production is most fundamentally, material.
Through material production we create the fields and houses, roads and machines that make it possible to live in our society.
On top of this production of the material base (infrastructure, basis) of existence, there exists an Überbau – a superstructure –
an organization and ideology, that reflects over the infrastructure and legitimates the power relations that obtain in relation to it.
Between the infrastructure and the superstructure, and between the component parts of each, there pertains a constant tension, a dialectic,
which drives forth social change – towards greater and greater concentrations of power.
(Except of course that suddenly, this entire dynamic would be broken and Communist egalitarianism would prevail.)”
I think it shares a lot with Structuralism, but focuses on how society exists at present as being a result of material production, exchange and power over materials, rather than something more deeply cerebral or non-physical. Dunno will work on this a bit more.
extracted from here: http://www.anthrobase.com/Dic/eng/pers/marx_karl.htm