New PDF release: Althusser's Lesson

By Jacques Rancière, Emiliano Battista

Jacques Rancière's first significant paintings Althusser's Lesson seemed in 1974, simply because the energies of may well sixty eight have been wasting floor to the demands a go back to reserve. Rancière's research of Althusserian Marxism unfolds by contrast historical past: what's the dating among the go back to reserve and the keenness which greeted the book of Althusser's <em>Reply to John Lewis</em> in 1973? tips on how to clarify the rehabilitation of a philosophy that were declared ‘dead and buried at the barricades of may well 68'? What had replaced? the reply to this query takes the shape of a family tree of Althusserianism that's, concurrently, an account of the emergence of militant scholar pursuits within the ‘60s, of the arriving of Maoism in France, and of the way might sixty eight rearranged every thing anew. Encompassing the book's specified mixture of theoretical research and historic description is a question that has guided Rancière's concept ever in view that: how do theories of subversion turn into the explanation for order? >

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Extra resources for Althusser's Lesson

Example text

Althusser, like Kautsky, certainly knows Marx’s texts. If Althusser needs to displace the terms of the opposition between Feuerbach and Marx by attributing to Feuerbach the theses of the Manuscripts of 1844, and if this displacement obliges him to act as if he had forgotten all he knows about Feuerbach, it is because there is something in all of this that he does not want to know, something that cuts much deeper than the opposition between knowledge and ignorance. 12 Let’s look at what is at work in this displacement.

Marx’s point is entirely different: he argues that the consciousness of men is determined by their ‘social being’,29 and that the point of view of the relationship of ‘knowledge’ to ‘being’ characterizes the non-dialectical thought of the old materialism, the materialism expressive of the bourgeois world view. There is no possible hierarchy between two indissociable terms, according to Marx. What this means, among other things, is that there is not, opposed to the idealist tradition, a materialist tradition which has dialectical materialism as one of its forms.

The Marxist science and ‘rigour’ of Althusser’s ‘theoreticism’ strengthened the PCF apparatus by recruiting communist students to the Party. 7 ‘Theoreticism’ not only produced a broad range of political effects, it also contributed to specific political operations within the UEC: reversals of power, returns to power, the formation of factions, secessions. Moreover, after May 68, as the critique of theoreticism drew Althusser into what he describes as a fierce class struggle over the question of the reality of matter, those university students who were card-carrying members of the PCF were brandishing ‘theoreticist’ texts as they called for the re-establishment of order at the university.

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Althusser's Lesson by Jacques Rancière, Emiliano Battista

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