In contributing to a discussion of concepts for a 'preferable future' in South Africa at a time when social life in general, and scholarly life in particular, is so thoroughly mediated by the market, this paper urges that we need to revisit the concept of capitalism. Recounting Marxist revisionism in South Africa and its limitations, in both theoretical and social terms, the paper notes that Marxism's demise has been accompanied by the decline of analyses that attempt to account for a range of social phenomena holistically. South African studies are today far more comfortable with local narratives that emphasise contingency, local variation, and agency. If such a theoretical turn is related to material decline of the working class and post-fordist capitalism, the paper suggests, through a reading of Moishe Postone, that we return to Marx to find the theoretical resources to confront the present conjuncture, and to reanimate a social theory of capitalism that aims to relate the parts of social life to the whole.


Additional Information

Print ISSN
pp. 128-152
Launched on MUSE
Open Access
Back To Top

This website uses cookies to ensure you get the best experience on our website. Without cookies your experience may not be seamless.