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Is political economy, and its critique by historical materialism and dialectical materialism, a bourgeois science?

One approach to the history of social science in Bukharin (N.I. Bukharin. "Introduction," Historical Materialism - a System of Sociology at "d." In the introduction) or Cleaver (H Cleaver. "Introduction," Reading Capital Politically) assert strongly that science in bourgeois culture is a cultural artefact, and that outside of proletarian political endeavour that bourgeois science predominates due to dominant ideology type theses. This effectively means that all scholarly activity, bar that of workers engaged in collective political action such as co-learning in the Stalinist/Maoist or Autonomist traditions, that all scholarly activity is bourgeois science. Including that of Marxists.

Given the categories outlined above: is political economy bourgeois science? Does this adequately reflect social reality or is this claim itself bourgeois science as political mystification? If it is a mystification at what point do the analytical categories break down and fail to reflect social reality adequately?

closed as primarily opinion-based by Philipp Oct 20 '18 at 10:56

Many good questions generate some degree of opinion based on expert experience, but answers to this question will tend to be almost entirely based on opinions, rather than facts, references, or specific expertise. If this question can be reworded to fit the rules in the help center, please edit the question.

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    I've once heard an exasperated girl proclaim that propositional calculus was a conspiracy of the patriarchy and that feminist mathematics would look different. Well, she still had to practice for the exam, and she passed it. What I'm trying to say is that for some analyst bourgeois becomes "all we don't like" and hence ceases to be a useful category. – o.m. Oct 20 '18 at 5:59
  • The implication here is rather deeper: that Marxism as a scholarly pursuit can't according to its own criteria actually produce knowledge it esteems as most useful, but only a deficient and flawed form of knowledge. It isn't a claim Marx is a bad political economist; but, that his critique of political economy necessarily reflects an ordering of knowledge and methods based in a culture that supports capitalism, and thus that his scholarship necessarily empowers the bourgeoisie as a class more than the proletariat. Undergraduates still need to hand in their essays, regardless. – Samuel Russell Oct 20 '18 at 6:14
  • This appears to be a discussion-oriented question where answers would reflect personal opinions and their correctness would be a matter of debate. Such questions should better be asked on a more discussion-oriented website. – Philipp Oct 20 '18 at 10:56
  • Except the terms have stable definitions. Either they support the conclusion or they don’t. Either they are capable of producing an empirical test (ie: “falsification”) or they’re unable to. And if they’re unable to then one of the terms will be a breaking point for falsification. It isn’t even good subjective, it’s entirely analytical. – Samuel Russell Oct 21 '18 at 0:34
  • It may be "bourgeois". It is most emphatically not science. – jamesqf Oct 21 '18 at 17:40
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Maybe not.

Scholarship implies scholars. Scholars study and communicate results. Studying and communicating results require leisure. Leisure requires support. Support implies workers. So in a sense, the study of anything, such as political economy is a "bourgeois science", since scholars aren't workers, or rather if scholars aren't workers.

If scholars are workers, then nothing they do is "bourgeois".

So the question boils down to whether or not scholars are workers, or something else, or a bit of both. There is such a thing as scholarly drudgery, so there's half that question. But whenever scholars are the first to study and understand some new thing, they have two roles: first they become in effect students or explorers of nature or the world, and temporarily "own" that subject, then second they become the first masters who teach other scholars.

If master scholars own subjects then they're not really "bourgeois" middlemen either.


Note: Any novel redefinition that expands a distinct set to include everything else is not useful, since words like "all" and "every" already exist...

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