Ideology and ideological state apparatuses summary

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ideology and ideological state apparatuses summary

Ideology and Ideological State Apparatuses by Louis Althusser

Louis 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.
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Althusser: theideological state apparatus

"Ideology and Ideological State Apparatuses (Notes Towards an Investigation)" ( French: "Idéologie et appareils idéologiques d'État (Notes pour une recherche").
Louis Althusser

Ideology and Ideological State Apparatuses

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.

The ultimate condition of production is the reproduction of the conditions of production, brought about through 1. The reproduction of productive forces is essentially the reproduction of labor power. This is ensured by giving labor power the material means with which to reproduce itself: by wages. The quantity of value wages necessary for the reproduction of labor power is determined not by the needs of a 'biological' guaranteed minimum wage alone, but also by the needs of a historical minimum. This is not 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. In addition, the reproduction of labor power requires not only a reproduction of its skills, but also a reproduction of its submission to the rules of the established order.

ideological state apparatus

In contemporary capitalist societies education has replaced the Church as the principal ideological state apparatus. Beyond reproducing the assumption that the state itself reflects a particular class interest, the theory of ideological state apparatus has also been criticized for simplifying relations between these institutions and the state, and underestimating their autonomy or potential for such autonomy. - Yes literally a life saver, Got an exam tomorrow!

First published in , it advances Althusser's theory of ideology. Where Karl Marx and Friedrich Engels posited a thinly-sketched theory of ideology as false consciousness , Althusser draws upon the works of later theorists such as Antonio Gramsci , Sigmund Freud and Jacques Lacan to proffer a more elaborate redefinition of the theory. Althusser's theory of ideology has remained influential since it was written. Althusser begins the essay by reiterating the Marxist theory that in order to exist, a social formation is required to essentially, continuously and perpetually reproduce the productive forces Labour power , the conditions of production and the relations of production. The reproduction of production relations is ensured by the wage system which pays a minimum amount to the workers so that they appear to work day after day, thereby limiting their vertical mobility. The Marxist spatial metaphor of the edifice describes a social formation constituted by the foundational infrastructure, i. A detailed description of both structures is provided below:.


  1. Swoe C. says:

    Ideology and Ideological State Apparatuses by Louis Althusser

  2. Tramulfibvi says:

    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.

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