In engineering, the term superstructure refers to the highest part of a structural assembly. So, for example, any structure above the deck of a boat is called a superstructure. Likewise, the structural part that supports the supporting elements of a bridge is also called the superstructure.
The superstructure also refers to other structures of architectural works or of great size and complexity in their construction.
In economic theory, the superstructure is a concept of Marxist origin that serves to define the set of elements of society that depend directly on the infrastructure (the material base that supports society and includes the relations of production and the productive forces), as in the case legal, religious or political forms of a given historical moment.
Deepening the economic superstructure
The superstructure does not adopt its own independent personality , it is directly related to the economic conditions of society, modeling itself on the interests of the ruling classes of some social groups . Therefore, any change in the superstructure is an immediate consequence of some change in the social base or infrastructure.
From this theory, some very important consequences are derived, as in the first place to understand the total composition of a superstructure it is necessary to first understand the infrastructure and economic changes that affect the superstructure.
On the other hand, the idea that independence of thought from the material conditions that make up society is impossible. The existence of a determinism caused by external factors must be affirmed.
From a philosophical point of view, these two consequences express the idea that the history of philosophy cannot be based only on the history of thought, that is, how certain systems of philosophical thought can give rise to new systems.
That is why it is necessary to look for something external to philosophy, such as the economy that serves to give meaning. In this way, philosophical systems are an immediate consequence of the prevailing economic conditions at certain times in history.