Althusser and the Renewal of Marxist Social Theory by Robert Paul Resch PDF

By Robert Paul Resch

ISBN-10: 0520060822

ISBN-13: 9780520060821

ISBN-10: 058507917X

ISBN-13: 9780585079172

The writings of the French Marxist thinker Louis Althusser and his affiliates have figured prominently within the improvement of latest social thought. The Althusserian college of Structural Marxism is a startlingly unique synthesis of Marxism and Modernism, which has produced a wide physique of paintings that extends around the human sciences and the arts to interact a large number of cultures, theoretical difficulties, and political matters. regardless of the indisputable fact that Althusser himself is well known as an immense determine, the breadth, coherence, and achievements of Structural Marxism as a complete have long past principally unrecognized. during this, the main systematic and wide-ranging review of Structural Marxism in any language, Resch presents a accomplished and thematic advent to the paintings of Althusser, Nicos Poulantzas, Pierre Macherey, Etienne Balibar, Emmanuel Terray, Terry Eagleton, Gran Therborn, Rene Balibar, Perry Anderson, Pierre- Philippe Rey, Michel Pchaux, man Bois, and others. Resch's sympathetic and serious learn demonstrates the big importance of Althusser's modernist renewal of Marxist social conception and its ongoing problem to post-Marxist hobbies similar to postmodernism and neo-liberalism.

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History is a process without a Subject or a Goal where the given circumstances in which 'men' act as subjects under the determination of social relations are the product of class struggles. History therefore does not have a Subject, in the philosophical sense of the term, but a motor : that very class struggle" (Althusser 1976, 99). From Althusser's point of view, humanism—that is, the approach that takes the human being as the subject of history—is based on two erroneous postulates: "(1) that there is a universal essence of man; (2) that this essence is the attribute of 'each single individual' who is its real subject" (Althusser 1969, 228).

They are found in capitalist and so-called communist societies alike and, moreover, serve the same hegemonic function in both cases: to legitimize existing social relations without mentioning their class character. In fulfilling this function, it matters little whether they are taken as oppositions or as complements, as elements of the dominant ideology or in opposition to it. Within the dominant ideology, economism and humanism are always complementary, combining technological determinism with ethical voluntarism in a Faustian affirmation of the status quo.

The existence of differential histories implies that each structure has its own specific temporality, or "differential time," which in turn implies a break with the idea of a simple or homogeneous time common to all these histories and against which they can be measured. The concept of common time, what Althusser calls the "historical present," posits historical existence as a linear continuum "assumed to be such that all the elements of the whole always co-exist in one and the same time, one and the same present" ― 66 ― (Althusser and Balibar 1970, 94).

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Althusser and the Renewal of Marxist Social Theory by Robert Paul Resch


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