The democratic theory of the early Marx

Paul Raekstad

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


This article presents a novel reading of Marx’s early, pre-1844, democratic theory, and its connection with his early views on alienation. It argues, contra established readings, that Marx had a properly developed theory of alienation prior to his famous Economic and Philosophical Manuscripts of 1844; that this theory is not centred solely on a critique of the modern state, or Hegel’s conception thereof; that it consists in suppressing a human species-essence for participation in collective deliberation and decision-making via people’s subjection to external power and domination; that it therefore applies widely both to the modern state and the capitalist economy, as well as to feudalism; and that this sheds light on the connections between Marx’s theory of alienation on the one hand, and his early conception of non-alienated society, democracy, on the other. This will help us better to understand the relationship of Marx’s to other, especially radical enlightenment, political thought.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)443-464
Number of pages22
JournalArchiv für Geschichte der Philosophie
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 6 Dec 2017


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