No other historical perspective has
influenced historiographical discourse in such contested terms. Many historians
have written in the vein and spirit of Marxist belief; however, conceptual
schisms have manifested between self-avowed Marxist historians who stretch the
ideas of Marx, that have-fragmented the established bonds
and orthodoxy of Marxist methodology. Theoretical Marxism, at-its core, is more ideological than historic; it is
nuanced and thus open to interpretation,-allowing
varying strands to emerge.


E.P. Thompson is ‘seeking to
rescue’ and restore the voices to the voiceless ‘Luddite cropper, the
“obsolete” handloom weaver’, those who were previously seen as backwards,
emblems of pre-industrial society, ‘from the enormous condescension of
posterity’ by not allowing them to be neglected by future historians. Yet, it
is debatable whether such a rescue mission is the desire of a Marxist
historian. Is their task not to spell out
the mechanisms of class formation and class agency? The oft-quoted declaration truly encapsulates the
Janus-headed nature of the Thompsonian approach, as he
not only departs from conventional Marxism, but also actively engages within
its theoretical framework.
It should be acknowledged that statement is not that of a structuralist Marxist
historian, and thus the theory should be clarified to better understand its
provocation. Marx places emphasis on the model of economic determinism, a
mathematical and rigid theoretical premise that prioritises modes of production
as inexorably leading to a communist society. He viewed history as a ‘Hegelian
dialectic’, a dynamic process advanced by opposing forces working against each
other to produce results. Marx’s approach, which is devoid of the human agency
so prevalent within Thompson’s work, links the beliefs of individuals to the
material base. In doing so, Marx fails to mention the historical role of
culture and actively denies its importance. Whilst
Thompson does embody social and cultural elements in his analysis, but works
within a Marxist framework, there this essay will argue the statement is that
of a Marxist historian.

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