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date: 13 June 2021

Abstract and Keywords

This chapter is the introduction to The Oxford Handbook of Karl Marx. It demonstrates the continuing applicability of Marx’s concepts and theories to understanding twenty-first century capitalism, its crises, and the historical development of human society across varying modes of production. It presents an intellectual biography linking the major moments in Marx’s life to his ideas and theories. The biography also gives insight into Marx’s approach to research by focusing more closely on the method he outlined in the Grundrisse. It demonstrates, among other things, that Marx continually revised his ideas in light of new evidence or theoretical understanding. The chapter concludes with brief summaries of the handbook’s contributions, paying specific attention to the ongoing relevance of each chapter to societal concerns. While the introduction introduces the reader to the varied chapters in the handbook, it goes beyond mere summary to provide fresh insight into Marx’s life, work, and promise.

Keywords: capitalism, class analysis, crisis, historical materialism, institutions, Marxism, Marx biography, modes of production, political economy, social theory

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