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Dance of the Dialectic: STEPS IN MARX'S METHOD Paperback – July 30, 2003

ISBN-13: 978-0252071188 ISBN-10: 0252071182
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Dance of the Dialectic: STEPS IN MARX'S METHOD + Alienation: Marx's Conception of Man in a Capitalist Society (Cambridge Studies in the History and Theory of Politics) + Karl Marx: Selected Writings, 2nd Edition
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Editorial Reviews


"Some of the finest essays on Marxian dialectics that I have ever read. This collection, which contains some of Ollman's best work, makes Marx's method accessible and would be an excellent choice for course assignment." Michael Lebowitz, author of Beyond Capital: Marx's Political Economy and the Working Class

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 248 pages
  • Publisher: University of Illinois Press (July 30, 2003)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0252071182
  • ISBN-13: 978-0252071188
  • Product Dimensions: 6 x 1 x 9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 13.6 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 3.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (4 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #742,178 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

30 of 35 people found the following review helpful By R. Sauchelli on December 7, 2004
Format: Paperback
I enjoyed Dance of the Dialectic and did a presentation on it in my Marxism class. It goes in-depth into how Marx thinks, how he uses terminalogy, how he comes up with his different terms, and explains the basis behind how Marx comes up with his theories using the dialectic. I was asked a question during my presentation of whether this was Ollman's interpretation of Marx dialectic or basically Ollman's own dialectic. The terminalogy and phrases Ollman uses to define the different characteristics of Marx's dialectic (such as 'thought concrete') I have not found in Marx's writing, leading me to believe Ollman invented some of these terms that Marx would have never used. Although it is what these terms represent that is important, it can, I suppose, also be argued that the meaning behind these terms he uses are not really what Marx conciously meant to use. These could be Ollman's understandings and assumptions of how Marx used the dialectic. Perhaps he is putting words into Marx's mouth by categorizing all the different steps of Marx's dialectic (there are 7 steps of 'level of generality' alone), which Marx may have never consciously known he was doing. I claim to be no expert on Marx, but I do have some knowledge of his writings and the history of him. I have not found much literature on Marx's dialectic compared to all the other stuff written about Marx, and this book is a great way to see inside Marx and Marx's thought process. Ollman offers an organized and very interesting analysis of Marx's thought process. I would encourage those interested in reading about Marx's method of using the Dialectic to buy this book.
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6 of 7 people found the following review helpful By SWR on November 19, 2008
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
If one wants to understand the Marxian application of the dialectic, look no further. Within the book is a through explanation of the philosophy of internal relationships and the process of abstraction. They are the linchpins for correct dialectical thinking from a Marxian perspective, and most probably from any dialectical prespective.
I personally do not agree with the application of the dialectic for I do not fully accept the process of change the dialectic demands in order to achieve its goals. But if one does not understand the dialectic, you are not alone, but this book will go a long to way to help explain it. Another useful book is "Total Freedom" by Chris Sciabarra. In that book, the author has a slightly different take and application of the dialectic, but the two will paint a very large picture of the dialectic.
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1 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Amazon Customer on September 21, 2012
Format: Paperback
When I first bought this book I was ready to break the authors teeth by the time I got to the end of the first chapter and gave up reading it midway of the second. One part of the problem was that Ollman didn't always write too clearly and the other part was that what he was saying just didn't make any sense. I'm no Marxian newbie , I'd read most of the great man's works including volumes 1 , 2 and 3 of Capital as well as most of Engels works so it wasn't that I was unfamiliar with the Marxian dialectic, it's just that trying to identify exactly what he was writing about Marx' approach was like trying to nail jello to a wall. I'd also read other works on the dialectic by a number of authors including Evald Ilyenkov and Henri Lefebvre and found them intelligible enough, unlike Ollman. However I came across the books of a student/disciple of Ollman's named Paul Paolucci. Paolucci has written two fairly comprehensible books largely based on Ollman's work;('Marx's Scientific Dialectics' and 'Marx and the Politics of Abstraction'). Because of this background reading I was able to return to Ollman and continue where I'd left off.
The book itself isn't really five easy steps to understanding Marx's dialecitical approach as it's made out to be. It is in fact composed of a number of essays on Marx's approach,each with a different focus but still fairly independent and stand alone from the others. The most important chapter of the book is chapter five where Ollman gives an overview of his theory of 'internal relations' and the main three types (and their subtypes or categories) of abstraction. Unlike some of the other chapters this one is reasonably clear and I believe it should have been the first chapter of the book. I certainly recommend it to be read first.
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0 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Dwight on August 9, 2014
Format: Paperback
Prolegomenon to a Marxist Theory of the Japanese State
By Bertell Ollman


On June 5, l999, a Junior High School principal in Osaka was stabbed and seriously injured by a member of the Yakuza (Japan's Mafia), because of his refusal to have the Hinomaru (Rising Sun flag) raised and the Kimigayo ("Let the Emperor Rule Forever" anthem) sung at a graduation ceremony. In February of the same year, another principal of a high school near Hiroshima committed suicide under conflicting pressures from the Ministry of Education, which ordered him to use the flag and the song at graduation, and his own teachers, who urged him not to. Showing such respect for the flag and the anthem was made mandatory in schools in l989, but only seriously enforced by various administrative penalties in the last couple years. What is going on here? And why has what seems like a minor cultural dispute become a major political controversy, with such dire consequences for some of the participants?

It is an odd controversy, for while those who oppose the compulsory use of the flag and anthem have shown no hesitation in giving their reasons—chief of which is these symbols' close association with Japan's imperialistic and militaristic practises before l945—the Government, though responding to most criticisms, has been strangely silent about what has led them to precipitate this crisis in the first place. What did they hope to achieve? Why is it so important to them? And why have they acted now?
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