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Description What is perhaps Louis Althusser's most famous text, "Ideology and Ideological State Apparatuses," published in and very influential ever since, was an extract of a much longer book published in French years after his death. Published now for the first time in English, On the Reproduction of Capitalism develops systematically 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 , 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 an activist and a conceptually innovatory text, On the Reproduction of Capitalism is an essential addition to the corpus of the twentieth-century Left. You may ask why anyone would join this system, even unconsciously, but the important thing is that the State Apparatus allows people to self-dictate within the system. The illusion of freedom combined with stability is tempting enough, even when it entails class oppression.

Of course the classic Marxist conclusion to all this is that the proletariat must overthrows these systems: both State power and the State Apparatuses. At this point, though Althusser only briefly and mechanically prescribed this antidote, I smelled a hint of fear in his writing. Old roots run deep. Anyways, while all this was interesting enough, the ramification in art is what interests me most. Sexism, racism, class insensitivity; you know the drill. Not completely unknown to me, but seeing it here in this Marxist framework was important. I shall do my part to overthrow the capitalist oppressors, one book review at a time.

View 1 comment. Best read as an introduction to general Marxist themes. Philosophically, it is full of large, ungrounded assumptions and severely under-developed. This is really great in what it says about ideology and Ideological State Apparatuses in contrast to Repressive State Apparatuses. There's a lot that precedes and works in tandem with Foucault's thought, which obviously goes beyond in talking about apparatuses as productive forces.

The biggest barrier to this being great and I'm being generous with 4 stars is Althusser's ridiculous Marxist-Leninist orthodoxy and exceptionalism. As obvious as it is that when you start reading and writing and t This is really great in what it says about ideology and Ideological State Apparatuses in contrast to Repressive State Apparatuses. As obvious as it is that when you start reading and writing and thinking like a Marxist, all the processes of thinking become Marxist in structure.

Althusser is straightforward in admitting that Marxism is an ideology, but quickly falls back on it being a different kind of ideology that somehow! Anyways, this would be great if it wasn't so set on insisting that communism is somehow outside the scope of the things he is critiquing.


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A classic which tells how our minds are controlled in bourgeoise society, not directly by violence but through media, schooling and institutions like church. Feb 20, Fernanda Vega rated it it was amazing Shelves: read. Wow, wow, wow. Althusser has expanded by sources to express the literary canon whilst feeding my Ongoing cognizant process. Ah, ideological State apparatuses, I can name you fancier! Dec 10, J. Finally published in english in January , I was looking forward to reading the book where Althusser's famous and masterful ISA essay was culled from.

While there is much to admire in this book it is also troubled by Althusser's inability to break completely PCF orthodoxy, particularly in the wake of May , which is why the book is filled with tangents in which he upholds economism despite also attacking other aspects of economism, very contradictory so as to criticize his former stude Finally published in english in January , I was looking forward to reading the book where Althusser's famous and masterful ISA essay was culled from.

While there is much to admire in this book it is also troubled by Althusser's inability to break completely PCF orthodoxy, particularly in the wake of May , which is why the book is filled with tangents in which he upholds economism despite also attacking other aspects of economism, very contradictory so as to criticize his former students. The book is simultaneously brilliant and erroneous. Jan 04, Evan Cvitanovic rated it really liked it. Now it is this knowledge that we have to reach, if you will, while speaking in ideology, and from within ideology we have to outline a discourse which tries to break with ideology, in order to dare to be the beginning of a scientific i.


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As a first formulation I shall say: all ideology hails or interpellates concrete individuals as concrete subjects, by the functioning of the category of the subject. This is a proposition which entails that we distinguish for the moment between concrete individuals on the one hand and concrete subjects on the other, although at this level concrete subjects only exist insofar as they are supported by a concrete individual. By this mere one-hundred-and-eighty-degree physical conversion, he becomes a subject. Experience shows that the practical telecommunication of hailings is such that they hardly ever miss their man: verbal call or whistle, the one hailed always recognizes that it is really him who is being hailed.

Naturally for the convenience and clarity of my little theoretical theatre I have had to present things in the form of a sequence, with a before and an after, and thus in the form of a temporal succession. There are individuals walking along. But in reality these things happen without any succession. The existence of ideology and the hailing or interpellation of individuals as subjects are one and the same thing. I might add: what thus seems to take place outside ideology to be precise, in the street , in reality takes place in ideology.

What really takes place in ideology seems therefore to take place outside it. It is necessary to be outside ideology, i. As is well known, the accusation of being in ideology only applies to others, never to oneself unless one is really a Spinozist or a Marxist, which, in this matter, is to be exactly the same thing. Which amounts to saying that ideology has no outside for itself , but at the same time that it is nothing but outside for science and reality. Spinoza explained this completely two centuries before Marx, who practised it but without explaining it in detail.

But let us leave this point, although it is heavy with consequences, consequences which are not just theoretical, but also directly political, since, for example, the whole theory of criticism and self-criticism, the golden rule of the Marxist-Leninist practice of the class struggle, depends on it. Thus ideology hails or interpellates individuals as subjects. As ideology is eternal, I must now suppress the temporal form in which I have presented the functioning of ideology, and say: ideology has always-already interpellated individuals as subjects, which amounts to making it clear that individuals are always-already interpellated by ideology as subjects, which necessarily leads us to one last proposition: individuals are always-already subjects.

This proposition might seem paradoxical. That an individual is always-already a subject, even before he is born, is nevertheless the plain reality, accessible to everyone and not a paradox at all. Everyone knows how much and in what way an unborn child is expected. But let us leave this point, too, on one side. I had to consult wikipedia to understand Althusser's point Nov 26, Vikas Lather rated it it was amazing. Possible the best work on ideology since Gramsci. The struggle of the dominated class has, to be sure, an impact on society. We have to take every aspect of the popular conception of philosophy into account.

The immediate implication is that, in every social formation, there exists more than one mode of production: at least two and often many more. A mode of production is, as its name indicates, a way or manner a mode of producing.

Althusser: The Law, The Cop, and The Subject - Los Angeles Review of Books

Of producing what? The material goods indispensable to the material existence of the men, women and children living in a given social formation.

What Is a Mode of Production? - Louis Althusser (Chapter 2 of On The Reproduction of Capitalism)

A way of tackling nature in order to obtain goods is not a state of mind, a behavioral style, or a mood. It is a set of labour processes that together form a system constituting the production process of a particular mode of production. Technical level of agents of a labor process is always determined by the nature of the instruments of labor and, more generally, by the the existing means of production.

In fact, we must squarely rebut them. The productive forces do not suffice to account for a mode of production, since they are just one if its elements. The other is represented by the relations of production. While presenting it to the audience, Althusser makes a well-crafted essay on his criticism of Capitalism by creating a very logical process of assertions that ultimately leads to his thesis that Capitalism is a terrible system that is full of fallacies and is nowhere near to the ideal society where it is just and fair.

Althusser suggests that the proletarians are for In "On The Reproduction of Capitalism"by Louis Althusser, Althusser shows his discoveries on the founding mechanism of Capitalism. Althusser suggests that the proletarians are forced to work for the bourgeoisie and ultimately the government by both directly and indirectly oppressing them with state apparatuses. In the end, Althusser blames Capitalism for causing destructive wars and starting the loss of faith in ideological apparatuses such as the government and the school.

Personally, I liked the essay because it was so logical to the point that if was impossible to argue against. New insight of Capitalism was really compelling and well as the ideological apparatuses that I have had my faith in for my whole life. The French Communist theoretician, Louis Althusser, takes on the enormous task of describing how capitalism seeps into all social, cultural and economic structures of power.

He describes both formal and cultural forms of capitalist ideological power, and thereby provides a clearer understanding of how it can be defeated.

On The Reproduction Of Capitalism

Although his mental illness made Althusser's life painful and tragic, up to and including the murder of his own wife and beloved partner, his theoretical contributions to Marxis The French Communist theoretician, Louis Althusser, takes on the enormous task of describing how capitalism seeps into all social, cultural and economic structures of power.

Although his mental illness made Althusser's life painful and tragic, up to and including the murder of his own wife and beloved partner, his theoretical contributions to Marxism are among the greatest of all time. May 28, Magda Kadlubowska rated it liked it. The essay was written in , and a lot of what rings true in it also seems obvious - but this is coming from someone who studied philosophy in college.

I found the first half excessively long, and his claims to doing science annoying and futile. However, half way through things pick up and it becomes pleasant to read. All in all, I'm glad I did. Jan 07, libprop rated it it was amazing. Salah satu pemikir penting abad Althusser memandang ideologi secara netral. Menurutnya ideologi bisa digunakan untuk menggerakkan massa dan mengemansipasinya atau membiusnya.

Saya sering mengutip gagasan Louis Althusser dari buku ini.