articulation of modes of production

articulation of modes of production

(MARXISM) a concept in which separate MODES OF PRODUCTION are seen as coexisting within one society or social formation. The concept was developed particularly within a Marxist critique of DEPENDENCY THEORY to demonstrate links between so-called UNDERDEVELOPMENT and development. Especially influential was Wolpe's (1972) analysis of the reserve system in South Africa as a subordinate, precapitalist mode of production based on kinship relations, which provided cheap labour power for the industrialized capitalist economy of South Africa.

There is considerable debate within Marxism. For example, Banji (1977) offered a powerful critique of Wolpe in which he argued that the overall laws of motion of the economy define the social formation, and it is not always necessary that all elements of the capitalist mode be present to define a system as ‘capitalist’. The ‘subordinate modes of production’ referred to by articulation theory are not, for Banji, modes of production at all, since they are devoid of their own ‘laws of motion and serve to reproduce the capitalist mode of production. Such forms lack the essential ingredient of the ability to reproduce themselves’. See also NONCAPITALIST AND PRECAPITALIST MODES OF PRODUCTION.

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