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Book Title: On Ideology|
Format files: PDF
The size of the: 938 KB
The author of the book: Louis Althusser
Date of issue: January 17th 2008
ISBN 13: 9781844672028
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The classic analysis of how particular political and cultural ideas come to dominate society.
The publication of For Marx and Reading Capital established Louis Althusser as one of the most controversial figures in the Western Marxist tradition, and one of the most influential renewals of Marxist thought. Collected here are Althusser’s most significant philosophical writings from the late sixties and through the seventies. Intended to contribute, in his own words, to a ‘left-wing critique of Stalinism that would help put some substance back into the revolutionary project here in the West’, they are the record of a shared history. At the same time they chart Althusser’s critique of the theoretical system unveiled in his own major works, and his developing practice of philosophy as a ‘revolutionary weapon’.
The collection opens with two lucid early articles - "Theory, Theoretical Practice and Theoretical Formation" and "On Theoretical Work." The title piece - Althusser’s celebrated lectures in the "Philosophy Course for Scientists" — is the fullest exploration of his new definition of philosophy as politics in the realm of theory, a conception which is further developed in "Lenin and Philosophy." "Is it Simple to be a Marxist in Philosophy?" provides an invaluable account of Althusser’s intellectual development. The volume concludes with two little-known late pieces - "The Transformation of Philosophy," in which the paradoxical history of Marxist philosopher is investigated; and "Marxism today," a sober balance-sheet of the Marxist tradition. Attesting to the unique place that Althusser has occupied in modern intellectual history - between a tradition of Marxism that he sought to reconstruct, and a "post-Marxism" that has eclipsed its predecessor - these texts are indispensable reading.
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Read information about the authorLouis Pierre Althusser (1918–1990) was one of the most influential Marxist philosophers of the 20th Century. As they seemed to offer a renewal of Marxist thought as well as to render Marxism philosophically respectable, the claims he advanced in the 1960s about Marxist philosophy were discussed and debated worldwide. Due to apparent reversals in his theoretical positions, to the ill-fated facts of his life, and to the historical fortunes of Marxism in the late twentieth century, this intense interest in Althusser's reading of Marx did not survive the 1970s. Despite the comparative indifference shown to his work as a whole after these events, the theory of ideology Althusser developed within it has been broadly deployed in the social sciences and humanities and has provided a foundation for much “post-Marxist” philosophy. In addition, aspects of Althusser's project have served as inspiration for Analytic Marxism as well as for Critical Realism. Though this influence is not always explicit, Althusser's work and that of his students continues to inform the research programs of literary studies, political philosophy, history, economics, and sociology. In addition, his autobiography has been subject to much critical attention over the last decade. At present, Althusser's philosophy as a whole is undergoing a critical reevaluation by scholars who have benefited from the anthologization of hard-to-find and previously unpublished texts and who have begun to engage with the great mass of writings that remain in his archives.
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