An abridged English translation was published in , and an unabridged translation in The book was influential among intellectuals. An abridged Italian translation was also published. Together with Althusser's For Marx , Reading Capital drew Althusser to the attention of French intellectuals and attracted a significant international readership. The appearance of Reading Capital and For Marx in English translation influenced the development of Marxist thought in the Anglophone world throughout the s.
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Their contributions are far from equal, however, and the contribution of Althusser towers far above the rest. This is a translation of a text originally published in French in This new edition amends the older translations slightly and adds the much shorter contributions by the other three authors, which had previously been left out. Reading Capital does not fit into any usual genre of writing or research.
At first blush it might seem ordinary enough. It emanates from a seminar of a master, Louis Althusser, with four of his students. These students have each to varying extents gone on to become prominent thinkers in their own right, but there is little trace of that in this juvenilia. Few works so clearly declare their object, viz.
Here I must refer to my embarrassingly esoteric reading of Althusser, which I expound in my chapter in the collection Mis Readings of Marx in Continental Philosophy , an updated version of which will appear as a chapter in my forthcoming book For Foucault: Against Normative Theory. If anything, what Althusser is trying to do with Marx is to co-opt him to his own philosophical cause by reading him in a highly tendentious way. Marxists exhibit both of these epistemological tendencies, indeed often at the same time.
And there is also Jacques Lacan, present as often as Foucault in name, and also present in terminology. Indeed, I will suggest that it is Lacan who is the real master of the epistemological tendency being followed through by Althusser here.
But of course we must also mention the progenitors of it, Georges Canguilhem and Gaston Bachelard, and they too are mentioned in the text. Still, I think it is a mistake to try to read him here for insights into Marx per se. Certainly Balibar is much more focused on interpreting the text of Capital itself than Althusser is, albeit giving a thoroughly Althusserian reading.
I am not sure of the accuracy of this as exegesis of Marx, but it is a genuinely useful attempt to speak within and to Marxism. This is not to say that there is a terminal incompatibility here, so much as that Balibar handles the incompatibility badly by minimising it. Balibar is right to diminish the extent of the importance of concrete individuals for Marx, to note that Marx is concerned with abstractions and averages in relation to complex phenomena, but his reading of Marx here dissolves concrete materiality to an extent I cannot believe Marx means to.
Balibar, in the end, declares not just history, but time itself to be relative. This can be usefully distinguished from the more materialist positions of Lacan, Deleuze, and Foucault, and indeed Althusser, who each in their own way allow that there is something outside of discourse that we maintain some kind of contact with qua extra-discursive. What of the other three authors of the complete Reading Capital? Their contributions are much shorter, and all three were removed from the French original in its second edition, before the work was ever translated.
But I do not think any of these contributions are very interesting. Mark G. The book challenged key tene Marxist analysis of law is perhaps one of the most fascinating and protean contributions to legal theory. This interview was conducted by the podcast Political Economy for the End Times, which acts as a platform for discussion of the intersecting crises of contemporary capitalism Anderson clearly demonstrates that Marx did not embrace a unilinear, e Thank you Mark for this.
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Their contributions are far from equal, however, and the contribution of Althusser towers far above the rest. This is a translation of a text originally published in French in This new edition amends the older translations slightly and adds the much shorter contributions by the other three authors, which had previously been left out. Reading Capital does not fit into any usual genre of writing or research. At first blush it might seem ordinary enough. It emanates from a seminar of a master, Louis Althusser, with four of his students.
Reading Capital The Complete Edition
Under this title, I intended to deal with the following question: what image did Marx have and give of the nature of his undertaking? With what concepts did he think his innovations, and hence the distinctions between himself and the Classical Economists? In what system of concepts did he account for the conditions which gave rise to the discoveries of Classical Economics on the one hand, and his own discoveries on the other? With these questions, I intended to interrogate Marx himself, to see where and how he had theoretically reflected the relationship between his work and the theoretico-historical conditions of its production.