From the Archive: Rancière, Althusser and Ideology

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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 of his earlier position (and subsequently removed by the author in Emiliano Battista’s recent translation of Althusser’s Lesson, where the essay appears as an Appendix).

In the context of the ‘wide reception’ that Althusser’s work was beginning to receive in Britain at the time, Rancière’s article – described as ‘one of the most powerful critiques of Althusser’s work so far to have been produced from the left’ (RP 9) – became an important point of critical discussion in subsequent issues of the journal.

Following the recent English translation of Althusser’s Lesson, we have collected together from the archive Rancière’s article from RP 7 (Spring 1974), and Ted Benton‘s and Ian Craib‘s exchange from RP 9 (Winter 1974) and RP 10 (Spring 1975) to supplement our dossier of articles on ‘The Althusser–Rancière Controversy‘ in Radical Philosophy 170.


Jacques Rancière, ‘On the theory of ideology: The politics of Althusser’, RP 7 (Spring 1974)

Ted Benton, ‘Discussion: Rancière and Ideology’, RP 9 (Winter 1974)

Ian Craib, ‘Rancière and Ideology’, RP 10 (Spring 1975)

RP 170 Dossier: ‘The Althusser–Rancière Controversy’