French philosopher Louis Pierre Althusser (1918 -1990) helped define the politico-theoretical conjuncture of pre- and post-1968. Today, there is a recrudescence of interest in his thought, especially in light of his later work, published in English as Philosophy of the Encounter (Verso, 2006). This has led to renewed debates on the reformulation of conflicting notions of materialism, on the event as both philosophical concept and political construction, and on the nature of politics and the political.
The texts collected in this volume originated in contributions to an international conference hosted by the Theory Department at the Jan van Eyck Academy in Maastricht in October 2009. Additionally, a number of other authors were invited to contribute texts in order to compose a representative volume of contemporary Althusserian scholarship in different fields, in an inter-national (admittedly, largely European) perspective. The division of the texts in four different sections aims to provide a survey of a significant dimension of Althusser’s thought, while also representing an intervention into the existing forms of discussion of the Althusserian legacy.
Te book discusses materialism and the different formulations of the relationship between politics and philosophy, Althusser’s interpretations of political thinkers (including Machiavelli, Deleuze and Gramsci), the resources he provides to critique political economy and politics in post-Marxist thought, and the theorization of ideology and politics.