ΑΚΟΛΟΥΘΗΣΤΕ ΜΑΣ


Louis Althusser

Για τον Μαρξ


ΚΥΚΛΟΦΟΡΕΙ ΑΠΟ ΤΙΣ ΕΚΔΟΣΕΙΣ ΕΚΤΟΣ ΓΡΑΜΜΗΣ


Theoretical encounters: “(Re)reading Althusser today: Politics, Philosophy, Marxism”


(Re)reading Althusser today

Politics, Philosophy, Marxism

Theoretical encounters

 

Ektos Grammis books

Athens, 2-3 April

To honour the (more than) 50 years that have elapsed since Louis Althusser stormed the terrain of philosophy and Marxism with the publication of For Marx and to celebrate the appearance of its new Greek translation, Ektos Grammis books is organizing two days of theoretical encounters on April 2 and 3, at the Athens Law School building, under the title: “(Re)reading Althusser today: Politics, Philosophy, Marxism”.

During the two-day conference there will be 8 discussions centring upon the theoretical and political contribution of Althusser.

The opening of the conference will take place on Saturday 2 April with a roundtable “Althusser and his contemporaries: Lacan, Foucault, Deleuze, Derrida” (10.30 - 13:00). It will be followed by two discussions, one on “The Epistemology of Althuser” (13:30 - 15:15) and one on “Althusser and Ideology” (16:30-18:30). The first day will close with the book launch of the new Greek edition of For Marx, entitled: “For Marx 50 years after: a return to ‘Althusser’s moment’” (19:00 - 21:30), with Stathis Kouvelakis, John Milios, Panagiotis Sotiris and Giorgos Fourtounis.

On Sunday 3 April, the opening session has the title “A collective theoretical project: Althusser and his collaborators” (10:30 - 12:30), followed by two discussions; one entitled “Reading Capital” (13:00 - 15:00) and another entitled “In search of a philosophy for Marxism”. The final session of the conference will centre upon the topic of “Althusser and politics” (19:00 - 21:30) with Dimitris Dimoulis, Giorgos Kalampolas, Dimitris Belantis, Demosthenes Papadatos-Anagnostopoulos and Alexandros Chrysis.

Attend the facebook event: https://www.facebook.com/events/1689622301314015/

 

Conference Program

 

SATURDAY 2 APRIL

 

Opening

ROUNDTABLE

 

Α1. 10:30 - 13:00

Althusser and his contemporaries: Lacan, Foucault, Deleuze, Derrida

The first post-WII decades in France were marked by the emergence of ‘structuralism’, which draws from Saussurian linguistics and flourished in the anthropology of Levi-Strauss. In this roundtable, we will discuss the importance of Althusser’s intervention in the ‘theoretical conjuncture’ of the 1960s, a theoretical conjuncture marked by the previous rise of structuralism and the theoretical ‘explosion’ in the human and social sciences in the 1950s and 1960s, with the appearance of works by Lacan, Foucault, Deleuze and Derrida. We attempt to trace the ‘dialogue’ of Althusser’s work with this explosion and to which extent it had a relation of both break and feedback. We search the traces and the breaks of Althusser’s philosophical conceptual innovations in relation to the work of important thinkers in psychoanalysis, theory of literature and philosophy, on the one hand, and, on the other hand, with traditional Marxist conceptualisations.

 

Discussants: Kyrkos Doxiades, Demos Exarchos,
Danis Koumasidis, Giorgos Nikolaides, Christos Simos

Chair: Panagiotis Sotiris

 

Break: 13:00 - 13:30

 

 

SESSIONS

 

Α2. 13:30 - 15:15

Althusser’s epistemology

One of the main elements of the originality of the Althusserian endeavour was the attempt in the context of his particular problematic, in order to enable the encounter between Marxism and the epistemological conception of the particular ‘French’ school of epistemology, of Cavaillès, Bachelard, Koyré, and Canguilhem. The outcome of this encounter, the famous ‘epistemological break’, that Althusser discerns between the ‘young’ Marx of the early properly philosophical texts – where despite the political radicalism of the young communist Marx, concepts and discourses of his ‘former philosophical consciousness’ define his problematic acting as ‘epistemological objects’ to the emergence of historical materialism – and the ‘mature’ Marx of the ‘critique of political economy’ and of Capital. However, Althusser’s confrontation with philosophy, in all his life, has as necessary condition the constant questioning of its relation with the sciences and with politics, up to the point of the formation of his own particular conception of the relation between science and philosophy and his particular epistemological viewpoint for Marxism the science of historical materialism, its central concepts, and materialist philosophy. In this session, we outline the terrain of epistemological terms in the formation of the natural sciences, we examine the trajectory of the epistemological thinking of Althusser and we read the crucial epistemological and technological elements that his conception highlights in Marx’s Capital.

Tasos Kyprianidis, The emptiness of drawing a line in the philosophy of Althusser. From the theory of theoretical practice to aleatory materialism
Themis Bokaris: The realm of epistemological terms in the constitution of the natural sciences
Telis Tympas, Marx’s experimentation with a new concept of technology. Reading manuals on steam-engines and thermodynamics with Althusser as a teacher

Chair: Dimitris Lenis

 

Break: 15:15 - 16:30

 

Α3. 16:30 - 18:30

Althusser and ideology

Althusser’s confrontation with the question of ideology is perhaps one of the his most important and famous theoretical endeavours. Starting from the beginning of the 1960s, when he outlines an original approach to ideology and drawing from lacanian psychoanalysis, in the end the 1960s, in the aftermath of May 1968 he suggests, in his Ideological Apparatuses of the State essay a new theory of ideology, which attempted to open up the possibility for a materialist theory of ideology in a Marxist concept. Ever since this theory has been a fruitful terrain for improvement and for theoretical confrontations which had as a stake the relation of ideology to power, the state and the reproduction of social relations, its relation to social and political practices, discourse and the subject and finally the relation of ideology to science and philosophy. In this session we return to the basic theoretical conclusions and the consequences of Althusser’s theory of ideology and we also return to how it was expanded by Michel Pêcheux; we search the degree to which it represents a dialogue with the work of important Marxists such as Lukács, despite the different philosophical starting points; we retrace famous criticisms of Althusser, such as the one made by Judith Butler; and, finally, we retrace the lines and breaks with the important contribution of Michel Foucault regarding power and subjectification.

 

Antonis Varsamis, ‘Dare to think! Dare to revolt!’: Michel Pêcheux and the Marxist theory of ideology

Eirini Gaitanou, Necessity, Contingency and Approaches to Reality: Thoughts on a ‘heretic’ encounter between Lukács and Althusser

Tassos Betzelos, Ideology: Interpellations and counter-interpellations

Despina Paraskeva-Veloudogianni, Subjection and resistances: the Althusserian subject, Foucault and Butler

Chair: Angelos Kontogiannis-Mandros

 

Break: 18:30 - 19:00

 

BOOK LAUNCH

 

Α4. 19:00 - 21:30

For Marx 50 years after: a return to “Althusser’s moment”

The publication of For Marx in 1965 marks the explosive entrance of Althusser and in the French and international theoretical scene. Along with the publication of Reading Capital it is ‘Althusser’s moment’. It coincides with the signs of unease and crisis of strategy in the world communist movement, the first signs of youth radicalism which will lead to May 1968, and the explosion in the “human sciences”. Above all, it is marks the attempt for not only a ‘return to Marx’ but also a radical innovation of the way Marx’s texts are read and received in an effort to make sure that the bringing forward of the theoretical effectivity of Marxist theory, in rupture with historicism and theoretical humanism, to be the starting point for a correction of the political direction and line. In this session we present the new Greek edition of For Marx, and we discuss the aspects this theoretical break, its philosophical pre-conditions, its political consequences, and the ways it marked all subsequent Marxist debates.

 

Stathis Kouvelakis: The philosophical style of the French 1960s

John Milios: Contradiction and over-determination: Deciphering the notion of the relation of forces in Marx

Panagiotis Sotiris: ‘Althusser’s moment’ in politics and theory

Giorgos Fourtounis: The necessary and impossible ‘final analysis’

Chair: Giorgos Kalampokas

 

 

SUNDAY 3 APRIL

 

SESSIONS

 

Β1. 10:30 - 12:30

A collective theoretical project: Althusser and his collaborators

In a sharp break with common academic practices, Althusser’s endeavour had from the beginning a collective character. Beginning with the participation of his students at the École Normale Supérieure at his seminars and the entire attempt for a revolutionary renewal of Marxist theory, Althusser’s theoretical work was always in close connection with his pupils, some of whom became his collaborators. In this session, we examine the degree to which the positions and questions that Althusser posed are then taken up by his students and collaborators, and we question whether we can say that there was some division of labour in this collective work. We also trace the ruptures of divergences that emerge inside this collective endeavour but also relate it to the political conjuncture at that time. Finally, we examine the particular direction some of Althusser’s students took in the years that followed this cooperation and the degree to which their interventions answer questions emerging out of the common trajectory in the 1960s and 1970s.

 

Vicky Iakovou, Rancière’s critique of Althusser: A necessary patricide?

Michalis Bartsides, Étienne Balibar: Loyal companion de route, radical refounder.

Tassos Betzelos: Between Lecourt and Macherey: Towards a spinozist hyper-materialism?

Spyros Sakellaropoulos: The dialogue between Althusser and Poulantzas on State theory

Chair: Antonis Varsamis

 

Break: 12:30 - 13:00

 

Β2. 13:00 – 15:00

Reading Capital

At the beginning of 1965, Althusser and four of his students –Étienne Balibar, Pierre Macherey, Jacques Rancière and Roger Establet– prepared and conducted a seminar on Capital. Their approach to this seminal text in Marxist theory, from which they tried to extract the basic positions of a materialist philosophy, led to one of the most well-known and original readings of Capital, making the epistemological reception of this text a theoretical stake and a ‘Kampfplatz’. In this session, we examine this particular reading from Althusser and his collaborators, which makes Marx’s text as the ‘birthplace’ of a new science, the science of historical materialism. We trace the object and method of Capital, examining the theoretical status of economic ‘laws’ in it and returning to the centrality of the value theory.

 

Christos Vallianos, The theoretical status of economic laws in Capital. The case of the law of the tendency of the profit rate to fall.

Elias Ioakeimoglou, Theory as a ‘Kampfplatz’ and Karl Marx’s Capital.

John Milios, Capital as ‘transformation of object, theory, and method’.

Dimitris Papafotiou, Rancière - Bettelheim: Value theory and capitalist structure in Capital.

Chair: Christos Touliatos

 

Break: 15:00 - 16:15

 

Β3. 16:15 – 18:30

In search of a philosophy for Marxism

Althusser’s endeavour is centred upon the terrain of philosophy and has as its stake a materialist philosophy, a philosophy ‘for’ Marxism. Attempting to inscribe Marx and Marxism in a new philosophical genealogy, emanating above all from Spinoza and Machiavelli, Althusser attempts to counter the conception that a reversed, nominally materialist, version of Hegelian philosophy is the core of ‘Marxist philosophy’. He adopts a radically open configuration according to which philosophy does not have an object, but is a practice and an intervention that have science and politics as their stakes. This led to Althusser’s changes in position regarding philosophy. Beginning with its conceptualization as ‘theory of theoretical practice’ and moving to viewing it as what ‘represents politics in the domain of theory’, in the 1970s we arrive at the position that ‘philosophy is, in the last instance, class struggle in the field of theory’. This session centres upon the trajectory of Althusser’s relation to philosophy and Marxism, and also the very relation between philosophy and Marxism. We will examine Althusser’s specific ‘spinozism’, but also the subterranean, subtle but constant influence of Machiavelli. We will trace the importance and limits of Althusser’s critique of Hegel and will search for the lines that connect to Althusser’s philosophical intervention. Finally, we will try to reconstruct the condition of possibility of a relation between philosophy and communism.

 

Meletis Lambrou, Althusser - Machiavelli: The paradox of this ‘disquieting intimacy’

Christos Natsis: Althusser, Lukács and epic theatre

Aris Stylianou, The Spinozist deviation

Panagiotis Sotiris, A new practice of philosophy – a new practice of communism

Giorgos Faraklas, Problems in Althusser and Macherey’s critique of Hegel

Chair: Giorgos Kalampokas

 

Break: 18:30 - 19:00

 

 

CENTRAL SESSION

 

Β4. 19:00 – 21:30

Althusser and Politics

 Althusser’s relation with politics was always uneven yet very close. From his initial position that the only possible political intervention in the strategy of the PCF will come by means of theory and the revolutionary renewal of Marxism which would counter the theoretical causes of the Stalinist deviation and  of the failure of western communist parties, until his insistence to remain a member of the PCF even after the latter’s strategic turn and defeat, the motor drive of Althusser’s theoretical endeavour was the search for a revolutionary politics for different ‘concrete situations’. Although Althusser’s project took the form of an open and direct polemic against the right-wing turn of the PCF only in 1976-78, in reality was political from the beginning. Not in the sense of a direct intervention to in the political practice of the PCF or the correct interpretation of the central theoretical texts of Marxism, but because it insists, in every conjuncture to search for the internal relation of theory and political practice and communist strategy, attempting a new political practice of philosophy and theory. In this session we attempt to test this hypothesis. We return to central notions and contributions by Althusser in search for their political significance in the conjuncture that they emerged but also their importance for Left strategy in general.  We search for the importance and the limits of Althusser’s intervention in the party-form as it evolved in the 20th Century and we trace his theoretical contribution to a politics of transition.

 

Dimitris Dimoulis, Althusser on Democracy (be means of a critique to Wendy Brown)

Giorgos Kalampokas, Over-determination, practice, encounter. Althusser’s intervention as a political project in theory

Dimitris Belantis, The limits of Althusser’s intervention in the 20th century communist movement. Potential, political limitations and contradictions of the althusserian current

Demosthenes Papadatos-Anagnostopoulos, ‘Humans, the concrete - classes, the abstract’ Theoretical anti-humanism and the Left of whatever exists

Alexandros Chrysis, Louis Althusser as a theorist of transition. Again on the dictatorship of the proletariat

Chair: Despina Paraskeva-Veloudogianni

 

 

End

 

Ektos Grammis books

Critical readings, subversive practices

e: [email protected]"> [email protected]

f: /EktosGrammis

t: @ektos_grammis

www.ektosgrammis.gr

ΔΙΑΒΑΣΤΕ

BLOG|
31/03/2018 - 13:10

Οι εκδόσεις Εκτός Γραμμής είναι στην ευχάριστη θέση να ανακοινώσουν την έκδοση δύο σημαντικών νέων βιβλίων.

BLOG|
31/05/2018 - 14:52

Henri Lefebvre, Μάης ’68: Η εισβολή της Ναντέρ στο προσκήνιο

BLOG|
01/04/2017 - 14:22

Ανάμεσα στον Λένιν και την κατεστημένη φιλοσοφία υπάρχει μια κυριολεκτικά αφόρητη σχέση: εκείνη η οποία αγγίζει την κρατούσα φιλοσοφία στο ευαίσθητο σημείο του απωθημένου της, την πολιτική.

BLOG|
28/03/2017 - 17:20

Ο Αλτουσέρ ανατρέχει στις φιλοσοφικές παρεμβάσεις του Λένιν για να υποστηρίξει ότι ο μαρξισμός δεν είναι μια νέα φιλοσοφία αλλά μια νέα πρακτική της φιλοσοφίας.