Challenging New State Spatialities: The Open Marxism of Henri Lefebvre

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It is possible to identify a subterranean tradition within Marxism-one in which dialectical thought is harnessed not only to expose the necessarily exploitative and inherently crisis-prone character of capitalism as an actual system of social organisation, but also to critique the very categories that constitute capitalism as a conceptual system. This paper argues that Henri Lefebvre's work can be included within this tradition of "open Marxism". In demonstrating how Lefebvre's work on everyday life, the production of space and the state derives from his open approach, the paper flags a potential problem of antinomy in an emergent new state spatialities literature that draws upon Lefebvre to supplement its structuralist-regulationist ("closed") Marxist foundations. A Lefebvre-inspired challenge is therefore established: that is, to develop a critique of space which does not substitute an open theory of the space of political economy with a closed theory of the political economy of the regulation of space. © 2010 The Author Journal compilation © 2010 Editorial Board of Antipode.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1279-1303
Number of pages24
Issue number5
Publication statusPublished - Nov 2010


  • Dialectic
  • Henri Lefebvre
  • New state spaces
  • Open Marxism
  • Strategic-relational approach
  • Structuralism-regulationism


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