_Althusser and His Contemporaries_ alters and expands understanding of Louis Althusser and French philosophy of the 1960s and 1970s. Thousands of pages of previously unpublished work from different periods of Althusser's career have been made available in French since his death in 1990. Based on meticulous study of the philosopher's posthumous publications, as well as his unpublished manuscripts, lecture notes, letters, and marginalia, Warren Montag provides a thoroughgoing reevaluation of Althusser's philosophical project. Montag shows that the theorist was intensely engaged (...) with the work of his contemporaries, particularly Foucault, Derrida, Deleuze, and Lacan. Examining Althusser's philosophy as a series of encounters with his peers' thought, Montag contends that Althusser's major philosophical confrontations revolved around three themes: structure, subject, and beginnings and endings. Reading Althusser reading his contemporaries, Montag sheds new light on structuralism, poststructuralism, and the extraordinary moment of French thought in the 1960s and 1970s. (shrink)
The Other Adam Smith represents the next wave of critical thinking about the still under-examined work of this paradigmatic Enlightenment thinker. Not simply another book about Adam Smith, it allows and even necessitates his inclusion in the realm of theory in the broadest sense. Moving beyond his usual economic and moral philosophical texts, Mike Hill and Warren Montag take seriously Smith's entire corpus, his writing on knowledge, affect, sociability and government, and political economy, as constituting a comprehensive—though highly contestable—system of (...) thought. We meet not just Smith the economist, but Smith the philosopher, Smith the literary critic, Smith the historian, and Smith the anthropologist. Placed in relation to key thinkers such as Hume, Lord Kames, Fielding, Hayek, Von Mises, and Agamben, this other Adam Smith, far from being localized in the history of eighteenth-century economic thought or ideas, stands at the center of the most vibrant and contentious debates of the twentieth and twenty-first centuries. (shrink)
Modeled on THE NEW NIETZSCHE, this collection revitalizes the thought of Spinoza. These essays establish Spinoza's rightful role in the development and direction of contemporary continental philosophy. The volume should interest not only the growing group of scholars attracted to Spinoza's ideas on ethics, politics, and subjectivity, but also theorists in a variety of fields.
Explores the core of Balibars work since 1980This collection explores Balibars rethinking of the connections between subjection and subjectivity by tracing the genealogies of these concepts in their discursive history. The 12 essays provide an overview of Balibars work after his collaboration with Althusser. They explain and expand his framework; in particular, by restoring Arabic and Islamic thought to the conversation on the citizen subject. The collection includes two previously untranslated essays by Balibar himself on Carl Schmitt and Thomas Hobbes. (...) Key FeaturesThe first English-language edited collection to focus on BalibarPresents and explains Balibars key contributions to political theory and the history of political philosophyIncludes two essays by Balibar himself on Carl Schmitt and Thomas Hobbes: 'Schmitts Hobbes, Hobbess Schmitt' and 'The Mortal God and his Faithful Subjects: Hobbes, Schmitt and the Antinomies of Secularism'Contributors include Atienne Balibar, Nancy Armstrong, Giorgos Fourtounis, Mohamed Moulfi. (shrink)
_The Other Adam Smith_ represents the next wave of critical thinking about the still under-examined work of this paradigmatic Enlightenment thinker. Not simply another book about Adam Smith, it allows and even necessitates his inclusion in the realm of theory in the broadest sense. Moving beyond his usual economic and moral philosophical texts, Mike Hill and Warren Montag take seriously Smith's entire corpus, his writing on knowledge, affect, sociability and government, and political economy, as constituting a comprehensive—though highly contestable—system of (...) thought. We meet not just Smith the economist, but Smith the philosopher, Smith the literary critic, Smith the historian, and Smith the anthropologist. Placed in relation to key thinkers such as Hume, Lord Kames, Fielding, Hayek, Von Mises, and Agamben, this other Adam Smith, far from being localized in the history of eighteenth-century economic thought or ideas, stands at the center of the most vibrant and contentious debates of the twentieth and twenty-first centuries. (shrink)
In July 1976, Althusser delivered a lecture in Spain on the topic of the dictatorship of the proletariat. At the moment that many Western European Communist parties sought formally or informally to distance themselves from the dictatorships of both West and East, Althusser proposed to examine the emergence of the concept of the proletarian dictatorship in a specificity. The debates of the mid-seventies, he argued, obscured or repressed the concept’s corollary: the dictatorship of the bourgeoisie, a notion that made visible (...) the forms of coercion and control characteristic of ‘bourgeois democracy’. To ignore the latter was to risk squandering the opportunities the conjuncture offered and suffer both political and theoretical regression. (shrink)
« Foucault and the Problematic of Origins » : Althusser’s Reading of Folie et déraison. In 1963, Althusser gave a lecture on Foucault’s Folie et deraison to his seminar on structuralism. His notes, the only written record of his impassioned encounter with this text, suggest that he was particularly interested in the way Foucault defined culture not on the basis of the values it proclaimed, but through that which it rejected and refused. Althusser distinguished Foucault’s analysis from those of Husserl (...) and Nietzsche, both of whom also theorized the necessary acts of repression by which a culture constitues itself. While Husserl demonstrated the forgetting and concealment of origins, and Nietzsche their destruction, Foucault’s work, according to Althusser, opens the possibility of thinking history without the category of origin, even if Foucault did not entirely escape the transendental temptation. (shrink)
This collection revisits A Theory of Literary Production by influential French critic Pierre Macherey to explore how the theorist's remarkable-and provocative-work can contribute to contemporary discussions about reading and formal analysis.
“What does ‘interpellation’ actually mean?” asks Warren Montag. Returning to the foundational concept of Althusser’s writings, Montag highlights its difficulty and importance. Examining what appears to be a settled matter, Montag argues for a renewed interest in the violence underpinning the concept: “there is nothing illusory about the means of subjection,” he writes.
Spinoza viewed the book of Ecclesiastes, in its original Hebrew and thus cleared of the interpretations imposed upon it in the guise of translation, as a powerful critique of the two most important variants of the superstition that taught human beings to regard both nature and themselves as degraded expressions of an unattainable perfection. The first was organized around the concept of miracle, the divine suspension of the actual concatenation of things, as if God were an earthly sovereign declaring a (...) state of exception. The second was the apparent opposite of this first, the idea that the concatenation of things has an origin and an end, that is, an order decreed by God. Spinoza reads Ecclesiastes through the lens of Epicurus and Lucretius, as if it were an attempt in the Hebrew idiom, an idiom in certain ways perhaps better suited for this task than either Greek or Latin, to shatter the decrees of destiny and to regard with pleasure those singular things (both human and non-human) that cannot and need not be made straight. (shrink)
A review of recent French and Latin-American work on Althusser suggests that the received interpretations of the latter’s work may profitably be re-examined. The notion that there exists an early, middle and late Althusser, each distinct from the others in important ways, is called radically into question by this body of scholarship. Various authors show the presence of an aleatory dimension, usually associated with the late Althusser, in even his most ‘structuralist’ concepts. These works help us read Althusser in a (...) new way. (shrink)
Adam Smith is usually associated with a notion of social harmony which results from each individual in a given society striving to realize his or her interest indifferent or even antagonistic to the interests of others. According to this reading, the effect of such self-seeking, however, is quite the opposite of what individuals intend: without intending to help others or contribute in any way to their welfare, they nevertheless contribute to the prosperity of the whole. When we examine Smith's understanding (...) of ancient philosophy, however, we must confront the fact that Smith is an exponent of suffering and sacrifice in the service of providence. Lucretius's notion of individuals breaking the pact of necessity which guarantees the providential order so that they may follow where pleasure may lead, could only discompose the order of things. Lucretius, whose arguments could only complicate Smith's worldview, must be effaced from the history of philosophy. (shrink)
This essay attempts to develop Althusser’s suggestion that Locke’s political theory and its central concepts, from the state of nature to the social contract, rest on a heretofore unrecognized distinction between the human and the inhuman. Locke’s notion of a human species with rights and obligations conferred upon it by God is a political rather than biological or natural one. At the origin of humanity is a choice : the choice to consult or not to consult the reason that should (...) govern human action. Those who choose to renounce reason form a counter-species whose existence poses an absolute threat to humanity and as such must be destroyed for the sake of the human itself. (shrink)
Few thinkers have left such an influence across such a diverse range of studies as Michel Foucault has. This book pays homage to that diversity by presenting a multidisciplinary series of analyses dedicated to the question of power today.
The author revisits the question raised during the 1990s by Gayatri Spivak in her famous and difficult article « Can the Subaltern Speak ? », a question which fuelled endless debates in the field of postcolonial studies. He shows that the question is deceptive : the issue is less to decide whether, in the absolute, the subaltern can speak - they obviously can -, but to see whether they actually manage to do so, and to make themselves heard when it (...) really matters, i.e., within a specific political situation. (shrink)