Lenin And Philosophy And Other Essays
Because Althusser held that our desires, choices, intentions, preferences, judgements and so forth are the consequences of social practices, he believed it necessary to conceive of how society makes the individual in its own image. Within society, the human individual is generally regarded as a endowed with the property of being a self-conscious agent. For Althusser, however, a person’s capacity for perceiving herself in this way is not innate. Rather, it is acquired within the structure of established social practices, which impose on individuals the role () of a subject. Social practices both determine the characteristics of the individual and give her an idea of the range of properties they can have, and of the limits of each social practice. Althusser argues that many of our roles and activities are given to us by social practice: for example, the production of steelworkers is a part of practice, while the production of lawyers is part of - practice. However, other characteristics of individuals, such as their beliefs about the good life or their reflections on the nature of the self, do not easily fit into these categories. In Althusser’s view, our values, desires and preferences are inculcated in us by practice, the sphere which has the defining property of constituting individuals as subjects through the process of . Ideological practice consists of an assortment of institutions called (ISAs), which include the family, the media, religious organisations and, most importantly, the education system, as well as the received ideas they propagate . There is, however, no one ISA that produces in us the belief that we are self-conscious agents. Instead, we learn this belief in the course of learning what it is to be a daughter, a schoolchild, black, a steelworker, a councillor, and so forth.
Lenin and Philosophy and Other Essays book by Louis Althusser
Althusser lenin and philosophy and other essays 1971 …
Others found this to be one of his most fruitful new turns of thought.Madness and ObscurityAlthusser long suffered as a manic depressive, Legotier acting as his nurse.
Lenin and Philosophy and Other Essays by Althusser, Louis
Despite its many institutional forms, the function and structure of ideology is unchanging and present throughout history; as Althusser's first thesis on ideology states, "ideology has no history". All ideologies constitute a subject, even though he or she may differ according to each particular ideology. Memorably, Althusser illustrates this with the concept of . He uses the example of an individual walking in a street: upon hearing a police whistle, or any other form of hailing, the individual turns round and in this simple movement of her body she is transformed into a . Althusser discusses the process by which the person being hailed recognizes herself as the subject of the hail, and knows to respond. Even though there was nothing suspicious about her walking in the street, she recognizes it is indeed she herself that is being hailed. This recognition is a mis-recognition () in that it is working retroactively: a material individual is always-already an ideological subject. The "transformation" of an individual into a subject has always-already happened; Althusser acknowledges here a debt toward 's theory of . That is to say, our idea of who we are is delivered by ideology. The second of Althusser's theses is that "ideology has a material existence":