The necessity of contingency

Among the concepts proposed by Althusser in the course of his famous symptomatic reading of Marx’s Capital, structural causality plays a central role. Extrapolated from Marx’s writings via a detour through the philosophy of Spinoza, it came to represent the concept in which Althusser summed up ‘Marx’s immense theoretical revolution’. [1] As is well known, […]

Is it simple to be a Spinozist in philosophy?

At strategic points in Reading Capital, Louis Althusser introduces Spinoza’s idea of an immanent cause as the decisive concept that is absent from Marx’s discourse. [1] For the Althusser of 1965, Spinoza’s model of causality is the great missing link in Marx’s thought, a philosophical omission and lacuna of symptomatic force. It explains the whole […]

Race, real estate and real abstraction

Dossier PROPERT Y, POWER, LAW Race, real estate and real abstraction Brenna Bhandar and alberto Toscano The crises and mutations of contemporary capitalism have rendered palpable Marx’s observation according to which in bourgeois modernity human beings are ‘ruled by abstractions’. [1] The processes of financialization animating the dynamics of the 2007–8 crisis involved the violent irruption […]

Anti-Revolutionary Republicanism

Anti-revolutionary republicanism Claude Lefort’s Machiavelli Knox peden existing socialism in the Soviet Union and Eastern Europe, but with what he viewed as the authoritarian style of left politics more generally. Disillusion with Trotskyism followed, as did a more general rejection of the party form and the revolutionary agenda. If the last years of Merleau-Ponty’s career […]

A precarious dialogue

A precarious dialogue Maria kakogianni and jacques rancièremaria kakogianni It seems to me that we are in an intermediary situation today. The period of the great renunciation of the revolutionary past, and of the ‘end of History’, seems to be giving way to a new sequence of popular struggles (the Arab Spring, Los Indignados, Occupy […]

178 Reviews

More than everything

More than everything Žižek’s Badiouian Hegel Peter osborne There are philosophical books, minor classics even, which are widely known and referred to, although no one has actually read them page by page… a nice example of interpassivity, where some figure of the Other is supposed to do the reading for us. Slavoj Žižek1 Allow me […]

Figures of interpellation in Althusser and Fanon

Figures of interpellation in Althusser and Fanon Pierre macherey The text that Althusser published in 1970 under the title ‘Ideology and Ideological State Apparatuses’, where he puts forward the thesis of the individual’s interpellation as subject, is no doubt one of his most innovative, but it is also particularly disconcerting: its exposition, in exploiting a […]

From the Archive: Rancière, Althusser and Ideology

The first English translation of Jacques Rancière’s 1969 essay ‘On the Theory of Ideology’ (drafted for an anthology on Althusser published in Argentina) was published in Radical Philosophy 7 (Spring 1974). This translation was based on the French version that first appeared in 1973, and included Rancière’s Afterword and the self-critical footnotes, indicating his reservations about aspects […]

Student problems (1964)

Dossier Thealthusser–Rancière Controversy Introduction to Althusser’s ‘Student Problems’ Warren montag For those familiar with Louis Althusser’s published work, reading his relatively early essay entitled ‘Student Problems’ may be a surprising and even disconcerting experience. Part of the surprise lies in the fact that the essay exists at all. Although it was published in Nouvelle Critique […]

Red years: Althusser’s lesson, Rancière’s error and the real movement of history

Red years Althusser’s lesson, Rancière’s error and the real movement of history Nathan brown The dissolution of the organizational forms which are created by the movement, and which disappear when the movement ends, does not reflect the weak‑ness of the movement, but rather its strength. The time of false battles is over. The only conflict […]

Reviewing Rancière. Or, the persistence of discrepancies

Reviewing Rancière Or, the persistence of discrepancies Bruno bosteels In the nearly four decades since its original publication, Althusser’s Lesson has acquired a certain mythical aura as the dark precursor of things to come. Even with the wealth of translations of Jacques Rancière’s work that have been published at an increasingly feverish pace over the […]

The patient cannot last long

The patient cannot last long Stéphane douailler The presence on our bookshelves of such texts as Louis Althusser’s Reply to John Lewis and Jacques Rancière’s Althusser’s Lesson immediately invites the readers who pick them up to ask themselves what might be at play between titles that so readily mix, miss or specify the genres – […]

The gender apparatus

The gender apparatus Torture and national manhood in the US ‘war on terror’ Bonnie mann Feminist protest against US torture practices, including outcries over the use of sex, sexuality and sexual identity in the torture of prisoners at US detention sites from Guantánamo to Abu Ghraib, have understandably tended to focus on what the abuse […]

67 Reviews

Ted Benton, Natural Relations: Ecology, Animal Rights and Social Justice Bob Brecher Louis Althusser, The Future Lasts a Long Time and The Facts E. Ann Kaplan and Michael Sprinker, eds., The Althusserian Legacy David Macey Edward Said, Culture and Imperialism Aijaz Ahmad, In Theory: Classes, Nations, Literatures Alan Duiant Gregory Elliott, Labourism and the English […]

Axel Honneth

Critical Theory in Germany Today 1 r An Interview with Axel Honneth if’ Axel Honneth is Professor of Philosophy in the Faculty of Political Science at the Free University, Berlin. He is the author of The Critique of Power: Reflective Stages in a Critical Social Theory (1985; English translation, MIT Press, 1991) and Struggle for […]

Levels of Analysis in Marxian Political Economy

Levels of Analysis in Marxian Political Economy: An Unoist Approach Robert Albritton Nearly every major thinker and school of thought within contemporary Marxian political economy has made some reference to levels of analysis or levels of abstraction, and has shown some sensitivity to the difficulties in mediating more abstract levels of analysis with more concrete. […]

59 Reviews

Alan J. Friedman and Carol C. Donley, Einstein as Myth and Muse Jonathan Powers Mike S. Dufrenne, In the Presence of the Sensuous Matthew Rampley Louis Althusser, Philosophy and the Spontaneous Philosophy of The Scientists and Other Essays Alison Assiter, Althusser and Feminism Andrew Collier, Scientific Realism and Socialist Thought Ted Benton Andrew Benjamin, Translation […]