Student problems (1964)
Dossier: The Althusser–Rancière Controversy (with an introduction by Warren Montag)
What are the theoretical principles of Marxism that should and can come into play in the scientific analysis of the university milieu to which students, along with teachers, research workers and administrators, belong?* Essentially, the Marxist concepts of the technical and social divisions of labour. Marx applied these principles in the analysis of capitalist society. They are valid for the analysis of all human societies (in the sense that social training [formation] relies upon a determined mode of production). They are valid a fortiori for a particular social reality like the university, which belongs for obvious reasons to every modern society, capitalist, socialist or communist.
* This text is a lightly corrected reprint of the translation by Dick Bateman of part of Louis Althusser’s article ‘Problèmes étudiants’.The French text was published in La Nouvelle Critique 152, January 1964, pp. 80–111, and has not yet been reprinted in any collection of Althusser’s writings. Bateman’s translation of ‘Student Problems’ first appeared in the journal Sublation (University of Leicester, 1967), pp.14–22, and corresponds to abbreviated versions of sections 2 and 3 of Althusser’s article (pp. 83–94 in the French). It is reprinted here with the kind permission of Mike Gane, who was editor of Sublation at the time.