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Marxism and language

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Chapter Summary

The question of Marxism and language is the site of a paradox, with important, and mostly negative, theoretical and political consequences. On the one hand there no theory of language to speak of within Marxism. The constructive aspect of Vološinov’s work involves the reinterpretation of a number of familiar concepts, such as the concept of sign(conceived as the site of the process of meaning in the course of social agon), of ideology (the Russian term denotes not a system of ideas but a social and cultural activity), of word (which is the name for the sign in so far as it takes part in a process of meaning, and inscribes a social practice) and of consciousness. The author's reading of the Lenin pamphlet anticipates Deleuze and Guattari's reading: they interpret the effect of the new slogan in terms of incorporeal transformation.

Keywords: Deleuze; Guattari; Marxism; national language; Vološinov’s



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