Althusser ideology and ideological state apparatuses

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althusser ideology and ideological state apparatuses

Ideology and Ideological State Apparatuses by Louis Althusser

Louis Althusser’s renowned short text ‘Ideology and Ideological State Apparatuses’ radically transformed the concept of the subject, the understanding of the state and even the very frameworks of cultural, political and literary theory. The text has influenced thinkers such as Judith Butler, Ernesto Laclau and Slavoj Žižek.

The piece is, in fact, an extract from a much longer book, On the Reproduction of Capitalism, until now unavailable in English. Its publication makes possible a reappraisal of seminal Althusserian texts already available in English, their place in Althusser’s oeuvre and the relevance of his ideas for contemporary theory. On the Reproduction of Capitalism develops Althusser’s conception of historical materialism, outlining the conditions of reproduction in capitalist society and the revolutionary struggle for its overthrow.

Written in the afterglow of May 1968, the text addresses a question that continues to haunt us today: in a society that proclaims its attachment to the ideals of liberty and equality, why do we witness the ever-renewed reproduction of relations of domination? Both a conceptually innovative text and a key theoretical tool for activists, On the Reproduction of Capitalism is an essential addition to the corpus of the twentieth-century Left.
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Louis Althusser's ideological state apparatus

Althusser’s theory of ideology

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The work of Louis Althusser has proven controversial in the International Socialist tradition, as well as throughout Marxist thought worldwide.
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Althusser was a Structuralist Marxist. - I must now expose more fully something which was briefly glimpsed in my analysis when I spoke of the necessity to renew the means of production if production is to be possible. That was a passing hint.

The ultimate condition of production is the reproduction of the conditions of production, brought about through 1. The reproduction of productive forces is essentially the reproduction of labor power. This is ensured by giving labor power the material means with which to reproduce itself: by wages. The quantity of value wages necessary for the reproduction of labor power is determined not by the needs of a 'biological' guaranteed minimum wage alone, but also by the needs of a historical minimum. This is not defined by the historical needs of the working class 'recognized' by the capitalist class, but by the historical needs imposed by the proletarian class struggle.

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