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Capital and Crises



The contemporary crisis of global capitalism is but one instance in a series of global crises over the past hundred years. What are the causes and ramifications of such crises? Can they be avoided? Or are they necessary concomitants of capitalist institutions?

This seminar introduces certain key concepts in social and political theory through a semester-long engagement with Marx’s Capital. It offers an extensive introduction to the categorial framework developed by Marx, such as his conception of the commodity, the idea of value, the concepts of exploitation and class, and the phenomenon of imperialism. The course will develop these ideas without recourse to the jargon of Marxist economics, or the baroque intricacies of the so-called ‘dialectical method’, using only the toolkits of analytic philosophy.

By the end of the course students should have a deeper understanding of some core concepts in political and social theory, and have developed a clearer sense of a categorial framework that helps us better understand, and change, the social world we inhabit.

Methods of Instruction

Study Material

Marx, K. Capital vol. I. Penguin, 1990.

Barone, C Radical Political Economy. Sharpe M.E., 2004.

Cohen, G.A. Karl Marx’s Theory of History: A Defence. Princeton, 2000

Harvey, D A Companion to Marx’s Capital. Verso, 2010

Roemer, J.A. General Theory of Exploitation and Class. Cambridge 1982.

Rubin, I.I. Essays on Marx’s Theory of Value. Verso 1998.


Students have to submit one 4000-word essay at the end of block IV.

You can register for an exam or retake through USIS until 10 days before the exam or retake.


Tuesday 4 February until 22 April, 9.00-11.00 hrs in SA21 (Except 8 & 15 April in 5B14)
Tuesday 29 April until 20 May, 9.00-11.00 hris in 5B14

Entrance Requirements