Althusser

S1MBM at ISUVAX.IASTATE.EDU S1MBM at ISUVAX.IASTATE.EDU
Sat Aug 13 01:22:49 MDT 1994


Jon, while I appreciated the sheer passion of your reflections on Althusser
and cultural studies, I finished reading your post feeling rather confused.
You describe Lacan's influence on Althusser as a disaster, and seem--at
the same moment--to want to insist on the importance of including the state
in cultural analyses.  Yet Lacan is profoundly interested precisely in
the ways that subjects *get produced*, just as Althusser--anticipating,
importantly, Foucault--sees quite clearly that it is useless to talk of
"the" state as though tis some inert, reified blob . . . reading Althusser,
we can see that the state *makes itself known* not as a kind of essence
but through its contingencies, particularly the contingencies of ideology
whereby it contributes to, but is never solely responsible for, the
interpellation of individual subjects.

It seems to me, therefore, that Althusser both anticipates and announces
a kind of inevitable confluence of Marxian and Freudian theories of subject-
production, a confluence which works itself out most aptly precisely in
the field of ideological relations.

Can you be more specific about the nature of the "disaster" you see in
this?  And what do you think of Zizek's work in this regard?

Michael McDonald

p.s.  Please, someone, tell me what "PDM" stands for . . .


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