Need help with my writing homework on Marxism in Anthropology. Write a 1000 word paper answering; Definitely, the purpose of Marxist anthropology must be the clarification of class struggle. On the contrary, it “has recently become for anthropologists a new source of obscurity as a result of recent work which is difficult and barbarously phrased’ (Bloch, 1983, p. v). The problem is that such terminology does not free the social reality form its bourgeois mystifications or wrappings. Ethnographies are widely used in modern anthropology to analyse the complexities of labour and societal development. The ethnographic relativism of the real world which is fragmented into nations and regional societies could only be adequately explained through a theoretically rigorous anthropological paradigm. Marxist anthropology could be used effectively in order to analyse the way people and societies are alienated in contemporary world.Many a Marxists, who were variously influenced by structuralism and the interpretations of Althusser and Balibar, tried conspicuously to invent structure in pre-capitalist societies believing that that’s what Marx did for capitalist societies. What they forgot to see is the fact that alienation and labour are the central categories through which Marx delineated his critique of the social structure of bourgeois society. It is labour theory of value as theoretical tool enables an anthropologist to shed light processes and patterns related to social formation, forces of production and mode of production, relations of production and exploitation. It does not mean that the Marxian labour theory of value could directly be applied to pre-capitalist societies as Marx developed it in order to deal with societies where modern market structures are prevalent. Maurice Godelier, who was influenced by Lvi-Strauss, has a prominent role in developing the Marxist anthropology. Godelier endeavoured to apply the critical Marxist insights on the relationships between infrastructure and superstructure, and alienation and labour, especially to non-western societies. He conducted extensive researches among the Baruya of Papua New Guinea in the period of 1966 to 1969. Among the ethnographies in anthropology, Godeliers’ ‘The Making of Great Men’ has a unique place. Godelier defines commodities as ‘objects which are detachable from persons or groups which circulate in impersonal relations between persons or groups’ (1978, p.66). For the purpose, the Marxian labour theory of value could be generalised as an analytical category for all types of societies. It means that commodities need to be excluded from the social reality of its production. Godelier asserts that ‘the mainstream of capitalism is the desire to make money with money–money is transformed into capital which is then invested in the production and circulation of commodities’ (1978, p.63). Without analysing a social formation from the point of view of labour time, the hidden social relationships of actual production cannot be revealed in. Therefore, the capitalist fetishism of commodities ‘appear as an independent beings endowed with life, and entering into relation both with one another and with the human race’ (Marx, 1965, p.72). What is necessary is to reveal the social relations associated to the embedded amount of labour time in specific commodities, be it of prehistoric or post-modern societies.
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