base and superstructure

base and superstructure
The metaphor used by Marx and Engels to characterize the relation between the economic organization of society, which is its base, and the political, legal, and cultural organization and social consciousness of a society, which is the superstructure. The sum total of the relations of production of material life ‘conditions the social, political, and intellectual life process in general’ (Marx, Preface to A Contribution to the Critique of Political Economy ). The way in which the base determines the superstructure has been the object of much debate, with writers from Engels onwards concerned to distance themselves from the reductionist and mechanistic implications that the metaphor might suggest. It has also been pointed out that relationships involved in production are not merely economic, but involve political and ideological relations. The view that all causal power is centred in the base, with everything in the superstructure merely epiphenomenal, is sometimes called economism. The problems are strikingly similar to those that arise when the mental is regarded as supervenient upon the physical, and it is then disputed whether this takes all causal power away from mental properties.

Philosophy dictionary. . 2011.

Look at other dictionaries:

  • Base and superstructure — NOTOC Base and Superstructure form a synthetic pair explicitly or implicitly common to all socialisms but due as such to Marx and Marxismwhere it serves to distinguish the essential basis of various social orders from various other formative and… …   Wikipedia

  • Base and superstructure —    In describing his materialist conception of history Karl Marx suggests that a society is like a building consisting of a foundation on which is erected the more visible structure. The foundation is the economic mode of production, that is the… …   Historical dictionary of Marxism

  • Base — or BASE may refer to:A base is a mixture of urine n waste so do not eat it* Base meaning bottom, the lowest part of an object* can mean negative, unfavorable or undesirable in nature. Bad; vile; malicious; evil.In mathematics: *Base (mathematics) …   Wikipedia

  • base — A term imported into Marxist discourse on the authority of Karl Marx s reference to a ‘real foundation, on which rises a legal and political superstructure and to which correspond definite forms of social consciousness’, which appears in the… …   Dictionary of sociology

  • Superstructure —    See Base and superstructure …   Historical dictionary of Marxism

  • base — n Base, basis, foundation, ground, groundwork are comparable when meaning something on which another thing is reared or built or by which it is supported or fixed in place. Base may be applied to the lowest part or bottom of something without… …   New Dictionary of Synonyms

  • superstructure — Like the term base , that of superstructure was imported into Marxist discourse on the authority of Marx s reference to the sphere of production as being the ‘real foundation, on which rises a legal and political superstructure and to which… …   Dictionary of sociology

  • Base isolation — Base Isolation, also known as Seismic or Base Isolation System , is a collection of structural elements which should substantially decouple a superstructure from its substructure resting on a shaking ground thus protecting a building or non… …   Wikipedia

  • Superstructure — A superstructure is an upward extension of an existing structure above a baseline. This term is applied both to physical structures like buildings, bridges or ships and to conceptual structures as well (e.g., in social sciences). The word… …   Wikipedia

  • superstructure — superstructural, adj. /sooh peuhr struk cheuhr/, n. 1. the part of a building or construction entirely above its foundation or basement. 2. any structure built on something else. 3. the overlying framework or features of an organization,… …   Universalium

Share the article and excerpts

Direct link
Do a right-click on the link above
and select “Copy Link”

We are using cookies for the best presentation of our site. Continuing to use this site, you agree with this.