Relative autonomy is a theory of
state power based on Marxist ideas. Relative autonomy perspective assumes that the state
can and does play a limited independent role in the maintenance and stabilization of
capitalist society. Relative autonomy differs from pluralism
in viewing state power as strongly constrained by the ideological and structural
characteristics of capitalism and capitalist society.
On the Concept of
Relative Autonomy in Educational Theory
Christer Fritzell, British Journal of Sociology of Education, Vol. 8, No. 1 (1987), pp.
Abstract: In an effort to
contribute to the further development of educational relative autonomy theory, this
article raises a few basic issues with regard to the relationships between the internal
structuring of schooling and educational functions of social reproduction and change.
Commodity Form and Legal
Form: An Essay on the "Relative Autonomy" of the Law
Isaac D. Balbus, Law & Society Review, Vol. 11, No. 3 (Winter, 1977)
Abstract: After a good deal of thought I have decided not to respond directly to Professor
Trubek's exhaustive review of The Dialectics of Legal
Repression, but will rather leave it to readers of my book to determine for themselves the
adequacy of his description, analysis, and evaluation of the material contained therein.
However, insofar as Professor
Trubek also refers briefly in his essay to my "more recent," and until now
unpublished, work, it seems appropriate to present a sample of this work, especially since
Trubek himself argues that it entails a "major refinement" which "allows
Balbus to explain what remains unexplained in The Dialectics." Indeed, in certain
respects the following essay constitutes an autocritique of the theoretical analysis in my
book, and a comparison of the two will thus permit the reader to assess indirectly the
extent of my agreement with Trubek's critique.
Reconstructed. Revised. - Reynolds, Jim
The British school system has relative autonomy, and therefore, could be potentially
transformative, used to change existing economic and social relations. The correspondence
thesis, which states that the schools perpetuate existing capitalist economic and social
relations and serve as agents of reproduction, was the dominant paradigm
of the last decade within the British sociology of education. The relative autonomy theory
may be a helpful method by which Marxists may cope with the empirical reality of the
British educational system/economy relationship.
The Relative Autonomy of
Schools and Educational Interventions for Substance Abuse Prevention, Sex Education, and
Gender Stereotype. - Shamai, Shmuel; Coambs,
Robert B., Adolescence, v27 n108 Win 1992
Evaluates drug abuse prevention programs, sex education programs, and programs to change
gender stereotypes in schools using theoretical framework of critical sociology of education. Notes that all types of
programs had limited effectiveness.
Marxism and economic
determination: clarification and defence of an "old-fashioned" principle -
Paul Wetherly, Leeds Metropolitan University, Review of Radical Political Economics,
Vol. 33, No. 3, 273-279 (2001)
This paper clarifies and defends economic determination as a defining principle of
explanation of Marxist political economy and state theory. Economic determinism is a principle of causation or
explanation which involves the claim that "politics" is "explained" by
"economics" in a relevant sense of those three terms. Economic determination is
defined as a strong tendency but consistent with a notion of the relative autonomy of the
ldeology, determinism and relative autonomy -
by Michael Rosenthal - Extract From Jump Cut, no. 17, April 1978, copyright Jump Cut:
A Review of Contemporary Media, 1978, 2005
Drawing from Engel's letters, Louis Pierre Althusser
argues that the various superstructures, like law, politics and ideology, are
characterized by a "relative autonomy" from the base.
In consequence, our understanding of economic determination (which is a condition for an
understanding of autonomy) remains in essence the same as in "vulgar determinism," while relative autonomy becomes a sort of
ongoing exception. That is, we continue to see the economic base as mission control, which
beams out commands to passive agents in the superstructure.
With our magic protective shield of relative autonomy, we are safe from these commands
until they catch up with us in the dreaded last instance.
Thus, although we can describe films like GODFATHER II or CHINATOWN as "critiques of
capitalism" because of their relative autonomy, they remain determined by capitalist
economic relations, in the "last instance." We often present it as some kind of
antithesis of relative autonomy, as if it were a version of the antithesis of
"freedom" and "necessity."
RELATIVE AUTONOMY OF THE
Tobias M. C. Asser.