Tuomas Tammisto Profile picture
May 5, 2018 14 tweets 9 min read Twitter logo Read on Twitter
#KarlMarx200 thread:

1. In my own #research, I have found Marx's notion of #contradiction particularly useful.

In his analysis, Marx noted how the contradiction between #labor and #capital accounted for many of the social dynamics of #capitalism.
2. The contradiction does not necessarily mean #conflict, but tendencies that "pull" in different directions and are in a dialectical relation to each other.

The contradiction of labor/capital can be accommodated in different ways and with very different consequences.
3. I like how this notions focuses on changing social dynamics. In my own work on #land use of #Mengen speakers in #PapuaNewGuinea, I've used the notion of #contradiction, to think about social forces underpinning Mengen land ownership and use.
4. In Mengen society, land is collectively owned by #matrilineal kin groups, or "clans". People of the same clans cannot marry each other, so few people live and cultivate on their own clan land.

Like marriage, land use is seen as a reciprocal relation between the clans.
5. Through their work and long-standing relations to the #environment and the land, also people from non-landowning clans form intimate ties with the land, gain rights to cultivate it and so on.

There is thus a contradiction between the land-owning clan and the land-users.
6. This contradiction between the land-owning clan and the land users in Mengen society is not necessarily one of conflict, but a fundamental tension that accounts for much of Mengen social and political life, especially when dealing with the land, cultivation and so on.
7. The contradiction reflects the simultaneous importance of reproducing the matrilineal clan, but also of forming socially productive relations between the clans.

The tension between these two Mengen #values takes many forms and can be accommodated in many ways.
8. The greatest strength of #Marx's notion of #contradiction is thus that it is a method with which one can try to make sense of dynamic tendencies in social life, how these are tied to particular material conditions and how social life changes in the course of #history.
9. Cultivating the land of another clan is one aspect of the productive inter-relations between the clans for the Mengen.

With historical changes, new questions arise: who should decide about #logging? The clan that collectively owns the land or the people who cultivate it?
10. Is distributing monetary benefits from #logging or #conservation between the clans considered similarly socially productive like ceremonial #exchanges, marriages and the mutual sharing of land?

In these questions the contradiction of land ownership/use is rephrased.
11. Related to the work of #KarlMarx, anthropological theories of #value by Terence Turner, Jane Fajans, Nancy Munn, Joel Robbins and @davidgraeber have helped me to think about the dynamic and sometimes contradictory relations between values in a society.

12. #Production lies at the basis of these theories of value. Production here is seen as the making of material goods *and* simultaneously social relations in a particular material and historical context. #anthropology
13. Theories of #value focused on #production thus help to think about social life in a holistic and dynamic way as happening *in and through* the environment to use @oikeos expression

His work on history and the environment has been good to "think with".
Correction to the typo: @oikeios ...

See: Moore, Jason 2016. Capitalism in the Web of Life. Verso.

• • •

Missing some Tweet in this thread? You can try to force a refresh

Keep Current with Tuomas Tammisto

Tuomas Tammisto Profile picture

Stay in touch and get notified when new unrolls are available from this author!

Read all threads

This Thread may be Removed Anytime!


Twitter may remove this content at anytime! Save it as PDF for later use!

Try unrolling a thread yourself!

how to unroll video
  1. Follow @ThreadReaderApp to mention us!

  2. From a Twitter thread mention us with a keyword "unroll"
@threadreaderapp unroll

Practice here first or read more on our help page!

Did Thread Reader help you today?

Support us! We are indie developers!

This site is made by just two indie developers on a laptop doing marketing, support and development! Read more about the story.

Become a Premium Member ($3/month or $30/year) and get exclusive features!

Become Premium

Don't want to be a Premium member but still want to support us?

Make a small donation by buying us coffee ($5) or help with server cost ($10)

Donate via Paypal

Or Donate anonymously using crypto!


0xfe58350B80634f60Fa6Dc149a72b4DFbc17D341E copy


3ATGMxNzCUFzxpMCHL5sWSt4DVtS8UqXpi copy

Thank you for your support!

Follow Us on Twitter!