Increasingly I am coming to feel that Continental social and political theory – especially in its French inflection coming out of the Althusserian, Foucaultian, Lacanian, and structuralist schools – woefully simplifies the social and therefore is led to ask the wrong sorts of questions where questions of political change is concerned ... [we] need to look at the variety of different social formations from individuals, to small associations like groups (the blog collective for instance), to larger groupings and institutions, to global interrelations, treating none of these as hegemonizing all the others, but instead discerning their varying temporalities, organizations, inter-relations, points of antagonism, and so on. This, I think, is far closer to Marx’s own vision – or at least the spirit of his analyses in texts like Grundrisse and Capital.
E.P. Thompson’s critique of Althusser in his excellent The Poverty of Theory (1978) hangs in the air here — and rightly so. Thompson's account is still sharp and wholly relevant: empirical, local and humanistic (and I know that that is a bogey word!)
With regard to evolutionary theory highlighting the possible ways that change can occur in societies, the work of Chris Knight (Blood Relations: Menstruation and the Origins of Culture) shows the way. Knight argues that we became human via a revolutionary sex strike ... you’ll learn more from radicalanthropologygroup.org.