The Concept in Crisis

Reading Capital Today

Book Pages: 328 Illustrations: 1 illustration Published: August 2017

Politics > Political Theory, Theory and Philosophy > Critical Theory, Marxism

The publication of Reading Capital—by Louis Althusser, Étienne Balibar, Roger Establet, Pierre Macherey, and Jacques Rancière—in 1965 marked a key intervention in Marxist philosophy and critical theory, bringing forth a stunning array of concepts that continue to inspire philosophical reflection of the highest magnitude. The Concept in Crisis reconsiders the volume’s reading of Marx and renews its call for a critique of capitalism and culture for the twenty-first century. The contributors—who include Alain Badiou, Étienne Balibar, and Fernanda Navarro—interrogate Althusser's contributions in particular within the context of what is surely the most famous collective reading of Marx ever undertaken. Among other topics, they offer a symptomatic critique of Althusser; consider his writing as a materialist production of knowledge; analyze the volume’s conceptualization of value and crisis; examine how leftist Latin American leaders like Che Guevara and Subcomandante Marcos engaged with Althusser and Reading Capital; and draw out the volume's implications and use for feminist theory and praxis. Retrieving the inspiration that drove Althusser's reinterpretation of Marx, The Concept in Crisis explains why Reading Capital's revolutionary inflection retains its critical appeal, prompting readers to reconsider Marx's relevance in an era of neoliberal capitalism.

Contributors. Emily Apter, Alain Badiou, Étienne Balibar, Bruno Bosteels, Adrian Johnston, Warren Montag, Fernanda Navarro, Nick Nesbitt, Knox Peden, Nina Power, Robert J. C. Young


"The Concept in Crisis is an excellent collection of articles on Reading Capital and other texts by Althusser. The articles do a great job of opening up new fields of enquiry in Althusser’s writings and reinvent Althusser for the contemporary conjuncture. Each article is written in very clear language and provides enough context to be accessible to the non-specialist."  — Fabian Van Onzen, Marx & Philosophy Review of Books

The Concept in Crisis shows and tells us why we need Althusser here and now, and it will be a cornerstone for anyone seeking to bring political and philosophical theory into the liberal arts and sciences. Conceived with vision, realized with elegance, and featuring essays whose philosophical and political force astound and dazzle, the publication of The Concept in Crisis is an event of the first order and consequence.” — Tom Conley, author of An Errant Eye: Poetry and Topography in Early Modern France

"Reading Capital remains one of the most remarkable studies of Marx ever written, and this excellent collection—from Alain Badiou's magisterial opener to Fernanda Navarra's closing evocation of the Zapatistas—helps explain why this monument of 'high structuralism' generated such excitement when it was published in the mid-1960s, and why its revolutionary inflection retains so much of its critical appeal to this day." — Peter Hallward, Centre for Research in Modern European Philosophy, Kingston University


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Author/Editor Bios Back to Top

Nick Nesbitt is Professor of French at Princeton University and the author of, most recently, Caribbean Critique: Antillean Critical Theory from Toussaint to Glissant.

Table of Contents Back to Top
Acknowledgments  vii
Editor's Introduction. Rereading Reading Capital  1
Part I. Reading Reading Capital
1. The Althusserian Definition of "Theory" / Alain Badiou  21
2. Rereading the Symptomatic Reading / Robert J. C. Young  35
3. Translation and Event: Rereading Reading Capital / Emily Apter  49
4. To Have Done with Alienation: or, How to Orient Oneself in Ideology / Knox Peden  70
Part II. Reading Capital in Context
5. A Point of Heresy n Western Marxism: Althusser's and Tronti's Antithetic Readings of Captial in the Early 1960s / Étienne Balibar  93
6. Reading Capital from the Margins: Notes on the Logic of Uneven Development / Bruno Bosteels  113
7. "To Shatter All the Classical Theories of Causality": Immanent and Absent Causes in Althusser and Lacan (1963–1965) / Warren Montag  166
8. Marx's Bones: Breaking with Althusser / Adrian Johnston  189
Part III. Reading Capital Today
9. Reading Social Reproduction into Reading Capital / Nina Power  219
10. Value as Symptom / Nick Nesbitt  229
11. Vive la Crise! / Fernanda Navarro  280
Bibliography  293
Contributors  307
Index  311
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