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    related to: Louis Althusser
  1. Althusser deduced the family situation from the events before his birth, as told to him by his aunt: Lucienne Berger, his mother, was to marry his father's brother, Louis Althusser, who died in World War I near Verdun, while Charles, his father, was engaged with Lucienne's sister, Juliette.

    • Life
    • Early Work
    • Classic Work
    • Revisions
    • Late Work (1980–1986): Aleatory Materialism

    Louis Althusser was born on October 16th, 1918 inBirmandreis, a suburb of Algiers. Hailing from Alsace on hisfather’s side of the family, his grandparents were piedsnoirs, or French citizens who had chosen to settle in Algeria. Atthe time of his birth, Althusser’s father was a lieutenant in theFrench Military. After this service was up, his father returned toAlgiers and to his work as a banker. By all accounts save for theretrospective ones contained in his autobiographies, Althusser’searly childhood in North Africa was a contented one. There he enjoyedthe comforts of the Mediterranean environment as well as those providedby an extended and stable petit-bourgeois family. In 1930, his father’s work moved the family to Marseille.Always a good pupil, Althusser excelled in his studies and becameactive in the Scouts. In 1936, the family moved again, this time toLyon. There, Althusser was enrolled in the prestigious Lycée duParc. At the Lycée, he began taking classes in order to preparefo...

    Despite its being anthologized and translated during the mid 1990s,there has until recently been relatively little critical attentionpaid to Althusser’s writings prior to 1961. Certainly, in terms ofmethod, style, and inspiration, the Althusser found in these worksdiffers significantly from the Althusser of For Marx andReading Capital. In his writings from the 1940s, forinstance, his method and conclusions resemble those of the MarxistHumanists of whom he would later be so critical, while texts from the1950s deploy without irony the Stalinist shibboleths he would latersubject to such castigation. Nonetheless, as these texts announce manyof Althusser’s perennial themes and because some of the contradictionsthese works possess are shared with his classic texts and are repeatedagain in his late work, these early essays, books, and translationsare worthy of examination

    With the perspective afforded by the mass of posthumous writingspublished since the 1990s, it has become clear that Althusser wasperennially concerned with important issues in metaphysics,epistemology, philosophy of science, historiography, hermeneutics, andpolitical philosophy. However, it is also true that the primary mediumAlthusser employed for thinking through problems in these areas wasMarxist philosophy. This is especially true of the period between 1961and 1966 when the majority of his published and unpublished workconcerned itself with how to read Marx, the definition of Marxistphilosophy, and how to understand and apply Marxian concepts. Inaddition, if we are to take Althusser’s retrospective word forit, the pieces he published during this period were intended aspolitical-theoretical acts, polemics meant to respond to contemporaryopinions and policies and to shift the terms of these arguments as wellas the actions which were their results. For these reasons, it isnatural w...

    From the time of its initial dissemination, Althusser’sre-reading of Marx was met by almost equal amounts of enthusiasm andcastigation. For every reader who found in his prose an explanation ofMarx’s philosophy and science that rendered Marx philosophicallyrespectable and offered renewed hope for Marxist theory, there werecritics who judged his work to be idealist, Stalinist, dogmatist, orexcessively structuralist, among myriad other charges. Though many ofthe initial reactions were contradictory and evidencedmisunderstandings of what Althusser was up to, compelling criticismswere also offered. One was that Althusser was only able to offer hisreading by ignoring much of what Marx actually wrote about his logicand about the concepts important to his analysis. Another criticism,and one voiced to Althusser by leaders of the French Communist Party,was that Althusser’s reading of Marx offered little on therelationship between Marxist theory and Marxist political practice. It took a long...

    After being interrupted by ill health and by the events followingfrom the murder of his wife, in 1982 Althusser returned to the questionof what was essential to Marx’s philosophy and expanded the scopeof this inquiry to include speculation about the metaphysics that mustunderlie it. Freed by his ignoble status from thetask of influencing the direction of the Communist movement, the textsassociated with this project and gathered together in the bookPhilosophy of the Encounterdiffer tremendously in subjectmatter, style, and method from his other writings. Whether these textsrepresent a continuation of, or even the key to his philosophy orwhether they are an aberration is presently being debated in thesecondary literature. However, as there is strong textural and archivalevidence that many of the ideas explicitly expressed in these works hadbeen gestating for a long time, the contention that these writings areof a piece with his earlier work seems to be gaining ground. The principal th...

  2. Oct 18, 2021 · Louis Althusser, (born October 16, 1918, Birmandreis, Algeria—died October 22, 1990, near Paris, France), French philosopher who attained international renown in the 1960s for his attempt to fuse Marxism and structuralism.

  3. Althusser gives the example of the "hello" on a street: "the rituals of ideological recognition [...] guarantee for us that we are indeed concrete, individual, distinguishable and (naturally) irreplaceable subjects" (Lenin 117). Through "interpellation," individuals are turned into subjects (which are always ideological).

  4. Louis Pierre Althusser was a French Marxist philosopher of the twentieth century. He is best known for his concept of structuralist Marxism. He was a member of the French Communist Party but his association with the party never prevented him to turn critical of the party.

  5. Ideology and Ideological State Apparatuses by Louis Althusser 1969-70 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 (a double class struggle: against the lengthening of the working day and against the reduction of wages).

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