This introduction, coming out during the two hundredth anniversary of
Karl Marx’s birth, discusses the distinctiveness of Marxian anthropology and what
it has to offer to our efforts at understanding, and confronting, the complexities
of the social contradictions constituted by—and constitutive of—twenty-first century
capitalism. The article points out common denominators of Marxian anthropology
going back to Marx’s insights, but also offers a cursory social history of the
diverse lineages of enquiry within Marxian anthropology, shaped by the relations
and inequalities of the context in which they emerged. Finally, we discuss certain
crucial fields of engagement in contemporary Marxian anthropology as reflected
in this theme section’s contributions.
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