Marxist historiography

Marxist historiography, or historical materialist historiography, is an influential school of historiography influenced by Marxism. The chief tenets of Marxist historiography include the centrality of social class, social relations of production in class-divided societies that struggle against each other, and economic constraints in determining historical outcomes (historical materialism). Marxist historians follow the tenets of the contradictory development of class-divided societies, especially modern capitalist ones.

Yet, the way Marxist historiography has developed in different regional and political contexts has varied, in full adherence to Marxism. On one side there are the general identities and on the other the particular differences. As to reject bourgeois reductionism, idealism, and determinism. In particular, Marxist historiography has had unique trajectories of development in the West, in the Soviet Union, and in India, as well as in the Pan-Africanist and African American traditions, adapting to these specific regional and political conditions in different ways. Marxist historiography has made contributions to the history of the exploited and oppressed working class, oppressed nationalities, and the methodology of a scientific history that went down as history from below.[1][2][3] The chief problematic aspect of Marxist historiography has been an argument on the nature of history as determined or dialectical; this can also be stated as the relative importance of subjective and objective factors in creating outcomes. Marxist historians have also made this critique, particularly social historians who emphasize the need for a more humanist, historically contingent, Marxism.

Marxist history is sometimes criticised as teleological or deterministic,[4][5][6] in that it posits a direction of history, towards an end state of history as classless human society. Marxist historiography, that is, the writing of Marxist history in line with the given historiographical principles, is generally seen as a tool. Its aim is to bring those oppressed by history to self-consciousness, and to arm them with tactics and strategies from history: it is both a historical and a liberatory project.

Historians who use Marxist methodology, but disagree with the mainstream of Marxism or wish to avoid a personality cult of Marx, often describe themselves as "marxist" historians (with a lowercase M). Methods from Marxist historiography, such as class analysis, can be divorced from the liberatory intent of Marxist historiography; practitioners often refer to their techniques as "marxian". Marxist historians are generally Progressives in politics.[7]