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 thought. The Althusserian university 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 interact a large number of cultures, theoretical difficulties, and political concerns. regardless of the undeniable fact that Althusser himself is well known as an enormous determine, the breadth, coherence, and achievements of Structural Marxism as an entire have long past principally unrecognized. during this, the main systematic and wide-ranging overview of Structural Marxism in any language, Resch offers a finished 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 research demonstrates the big importance of Althusser's modernist renewal of Marxist social thought and its ongoing problem to post-Marxist hobbies corresponding to postmodernism and neo-liberalism.
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Extra info for Althusser and the Renewal of Marxist Social Theory
But there is no Subject (singular) of history" (Althusser 1976, 94). Althusser maintains that the notion of "Man" is a myth of bourgeois ideology that has insinuated itself into theory. "Far be it from me to ― 70 ― denigrate this great humanist tradition whose historical merit was to have struggled against feudalism, against the Church, and against their ideologists, and to have given man a status and dignity. But far be it from us, I think, to deny the fact that this humanist ideology which produced great works and great thinkers, is inseparably linked to the rising bourgeoisie, whose aspirations it expressed" (Althusser 1976, 198).
There can be no question," Althusser insists, "of measuring the dislocation of different temporalities against the line of continuous reference time" (Althusser and Balibar 1970, 105). Rather, the relationship between differential times and plenary time expresses yet again Althusser's dialectic between the historical effectivity of the social whole on each of its elements and the distinct, relatively autonomous, and simultaneous effectivities of each of the elements at a given conjuncture. As the structured whole exists only as the effect of its elements, plenary time exists only as a function of the differential times.
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). Furthermore, parallel to his distinction between dominant and determinant structures, Althusser maintains that the general contradiction is not necessarily the "principal contradiction" dominant at a particular conjuncture.