Poulantzas, Nicos (1936-1979)

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Nicos Poulantzas occupies a distinctive position within the rich and diverse heritage of Marxism in the twentieth century. Caught in between earlier generations of western Marxism and later postmodern forms of social theory, he was a restless sociologist whose arguments evolved, sometimes markedly, across his work. For instance, the relative autonomy of the state from the capital–labor relation shifted from being a key structural characteristic of capitalist society in the late 1960s (in dialogue with Althusser) to meaning, by the late 1970s, that the state is a crucial terrain upon and through which social struggles play out (engaging with Foucault, and moving closer to Gramsci). Poulantzas's later work on authoritarian statism is presently of the greatest contemporary relevance, but his inevitably incomplete legacy is replete with potential which can be utilized and expanded upon in a range of new ways by present-day scholars.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationThe Blackwell Encyclopedia of Sociology
Publication statusPublished - 2018


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