By Robert Paul Resch
The writings of the French Marxist thinker Louis Althusser and his affiliates have figured prominently within the improvement of latest social concept. 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 have interaction a large number of cultures, theoretical difficulties, and political matters. regardless of the indisputable fact that Althusser himself is widely known as an incredible determine, the breadth, coherence, and achievements of Structural Marxism as a complete have long gone mostly unrecognized. during this, the main systematic and wide-ranging review of Structural Marxism in any language, Resch presents a complete and thematic creation 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 examine demonstrates the large value of Althusser's modernist renewal of Marxist social thought and its ongoing problem to post-Marxist hobbies comparable to postmodernism and neo-liberalism.
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Extra resources for Althusser and the Renewal of Marxist Social Theory
Marx therefore starts out from the structural cause producing the effect of bourgeois ideology which maintains the illusion that you should start with man. (Althusser 1976, 205) Rather than starting from "Man," Althusser insists that historical practice begin with the "economically given social period": "At the end of analysis, when it 'arrives,' it may find real men . These men are thus the point of arrival of an analysis which starts from the social relations of the existing mode of production, from class relations, and from the class struggle.
At such a moment, a "vast accumulation of contradictions comes into play in the same court, some of which are radically heterogeneous—of different origins, different senses, different levels and points of application—but which nevertheless 'merge' into a ruptural unity; we can no longer speak of the sole, unique power of the general contradiction. Of course, the basic contradiction dominating the period . . is active in all these contradictions even in their fusion. But, strictly speaking, it cannot be claimed that these contradictions and their fusion are merely the pure phenomena of the general contradiction" (Althusser 1969, 100).
Speaking specifically of economic practice, Althusser argues in Reading Capital that the structure of the relations determines the places and functions occupied and adopted by the agents of production, who are never anything more than the occupants of these places, insofar as they are "supports" (Träger ) of these functions. The true "subjects" (in the sense of constitutive subjects of the process) are therefore not these occupants or functionaries, are not, despite all anthropology, "concrete individuals," "real men"—but the definition and distribution of these places and functions.
Althusser and the Renewal of Marxist Social Theory by Robert Paul Resch