Epochal structures II: The anatomy of Maale production

Donald L. Donham

in History, Power, Ideology

Published by University of California Press

Published in print June 1999 | ISBN: 9780520213371
Published online March 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780520920798 | DOI:
Epochal structures II: The anatomy of Maale production

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Karl Marx and Friedrich Engels insisted that historical materialism is not a self-contained philosophy which can be used to trim the edges of history. This chapter uses Marxist theory to explain household structures themselves and to understand the Maale way of producing, beginning by looking at the level of development of productive powers. The Maale case fits Claude Meillassoux's specification of productive powers for the domestic mode. Besides horticulture, other lines of production such as cattle-keeping, beekeeping, and hunting had their technologies in Maale. In addition to land and tools, labor was also a productive power in Maale. These, then, were the powers that Maale used to produce their material life: technology, land, and labor. According to Marx and Meillassoux, the level of development of these powers determines productive inequalities. In relation to the king and chiefs, fertility fetishism was grounded in the ordering of Maale horticulture and hunting. Gender provided the ground for fetishization of fertility in Maale.

Keywords: Maale; Karl Marx; household structures; productive powers; Claude Meillassoux; historical materialism; technology; land; labor; fertility

Chapter.  19115 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Comparative and Historical Sociology

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