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The Moment Of Reading 'Capital'

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Chapter Summary

Althusser saluted Gramsci's 'new'concept of hegemony as a 'remarkable example of a theoretical solution in outline to the problems of the interpenetration of the economic and the political'. Reading 'Capital', published in the same year (1965), initially seemed to continue to speak of Gramsci with the highest praise. However, it quickly became clear that Althusser had come not to praise Gramsci, but to bury him. Ambitious in its aims, rigorous in its argumentation, audacious in its conclusions, Althusser's critique produced immediate effects in the intellectual milieux of Western Europe's two largest Communist Parties during the 1960s and 1970s. Nevertheless, the enduring significance of Althusser's critique is correctly located within the wider Marxist tradition and is not to be limited to the conjunctural forms it assumed in any national culture or party apparatus, whatever their importance or international influence.

Keywords: Althusser; Gramsci; Marxist philosophy; Reading 'Capital'

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