On the Reproduction of Capitalism : Ideology and Ideological State Apparatuses
Overview - Louis Althusser's renowned short text 'Ideology and Ideological State Apparatuses' radically transformed the concept of the subject, the understanding of the state and even the very frameworks of cultural, political and literary theory. The text has influenced thinkers such as Judith Butler, Ernesto Laclau and Slavoj iek. Read more...
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More About On the Reproduction of Capitalism by Louis Althusser; Etienne Balibar; Jacques Bidet; G. M. Goshgarian
Louis Althusser's renowned short text 'Ideology and Ideological State Apparatuses' radically transformed the concept of the subject, the understanding of the state and even the very frameworks of cultural, political and literary theory. The text has influenced thinkers such as Judith Butler, Ernesto Laclau and Slavoj iek.
The piece is, in fact, an extract from a much longer book, On the Reproduction of Capitalism
, until now unavailable in English. Its publication makes possible a reappraisal of seminal Althusserian texts already available in English, their place in Althusser's oeuvre and the relevance of his ideas for contemporary theory. On the Reproduction of Capitalism
develops Althusser's conception of historical materialism, outlining the conditions of reproduction in capitalist society and the revolutionary struggle for its overthrow.
Written in the afterglow of May 1968, the text addresses a question that continues to haunt us today: in a society that proclaims its attachment to the ideals of liberty and equality, why do we witness the ever-renewed reproduction of relations of domination? Both a conceptually innovative text and a key theoretical tool for activists, On the Reproduction of Capitalism
is an essential addition to the corpus of the twentieth-century Left.
Publishers Weekly Reviews
Publishers Weekly® Reviews
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Published in France in 1995, this translation of an unfinished manuscript by French intellectual and card-carrying communist Louis Althusser is a cascade of incomplete moments: written shortly after the student and worker uprising of May 1968 and having just recovered from a depressive psychosis, Althusser attempts to reconsider the role ideology plays not only in the continued reproduction of capitalism as an economic system, but also in its everyday social workings. Standing as the companion to an unwritten second volume, its opening question, "What is Marxist-Leninist Philosophy?" is left unanswered. Likewise, his central assertions that the education system is the primary ideological means of reproducing capitalism and that there is a "state ideology" that holds all other ideologies in line—those of religious institutions, the family, unions, cultural institutions, news agencies, etc., are left to be proven in unwritten works. Thinkers on the left who hoped that this work would fill the gaps left in Althusser's famous essay "Ideology and Ideological State Apparatuses," which was based on this manuscript, will have to look elsewhere. What can be taken away from it, however, is what Althusser in the end does convince: that ideology is more than just thought. It is instead found in the everyday activities in which we all participate. (Feb.)