Ideology and Ideological State Apparatuses by Louis AlthusserLouis 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.
Louis Althusser's ideological state apparatus
Ideology and Ideological State Apparatuses Summary by Althusser
Yes literally a life saver, Got an exam tomorrow! Appreciate it! In "Ideology and Ideological State Apparatuses " Louis Althusser asks the traditional Marxist question of how are conditions and relations of production being reproduced and maintained is society. Althusser's answer is that two types of mechanisms are at play here: "repressive state apparatuses which gain abidance and cooperation from the public through physical coercion means such as the police, army, prisons, courts etc. According to Althusser ideological state apparatuses" are sustained by cultural institutions such as the education system, the church, the family, media and culture.
Althusser was a Structuralist Marxist. He wrote ideology and ideological state apparatuses in French which was published in In this essay, Althusser tells how the conditions of means of production and productive forces are reproduced and maintained in the society. According to Althusser the reproduction of the productive forces is ensured by the wage system that pays a minimum amount to the working class so that they may have to work every day and also may not raise in status. Wages are set not by biological needs but by the historical minimum. On the other hand, the conditions of production are also needed to be reproduced.
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. Now I shall consider it for itself. As Marx said, every child knows that a social formation which did not reproduce the conditions of production at the same time as it produced would not last a year. Let us ignore this last distinction for the moment. Here we are entering a domain which is both very familiar since Capital Volume Two and uniquely ignored.
(an extract from: ' Ideology and Ideological State Apparatuses (Notes towards an Investigation)' by Louis Althusser) . even in the very summary state of my suggestions: what exactly is the extent of the role of the Ideological.
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The work of Louis Althusser has proven controversial in the International Socialist tradition, as well as throughout Marxist thought worldwide. In recent years, a revival of interest in his work has taken place. He had garnered a reputation as an oppositional, radical figure among Communists and the Left more broadly, but was unable to act beyond the dictates of the party bureaucrats. Why was Althusser unable to break from the PCF? While his membership in the PCF is often claimed as evidence that he was a doctrinaire Stalinist, Althusser actually hoped to drastically change the party from within, to render it a legitimate organ of the working-class masses that formed its base of support.