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Everyday Life and the State, Peter Bratsis, Boulder: Paradigm Publishers, 2006

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Abstract The present review essay discusses Peter Bratsis’s work Everyday Life and the State (2006). It is argued that Bratsis produces a sound contribution to the on-going debate on state theory, which has its particular strengths in the innovative treatment of the public-private divide and an elaborate critique of fetishistic and ideological relations in the field of the political. In this, Bratsis builds on a broad range of structuralist, poststructuralist and dialectical positions. Deficiencies of his work are likewise to be found in this bricolage of theoretical approaches: it is argued that conflicting epistemological and ontological fundamentals are not sufficiently taken into account, which consequently leads to reductionist and errant conclusions. This is especially evident in the confusion of ‘structuralist’ and ‘dialectical’ heuristics, which leads to an insufficiently materialist picture of the state in relation to ‘everyday life’.

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31. FN1 1. Jessop 2002; Hirsch 2005.
32. FN2 2. For the German debate, cf. Demirovic 2007, Kannankulam 2008. For recent English publications cf. Barrow 1993; Bratsis and Aronowitz (eds.) 2002; Gallas, Bretthauer, Kannakulam and Stützle (eds.) 2011.
33. FN3 3. Gardiner 2009, p. 383.
34. FN4 4. Marx 1981.
35. FN5 5. Lenin 1966.
36. FN6 6. Engels 1973, p. 222.
37. FN7 7. Miliband 1973, pp. 46–51.
38. FN8 8. In fact, the two sections of Althusser’s famous essay on ‘Ideology and Ideological State Apparatuses’ can be read as accentuating first the subjective and then the objective side; see Althusser 2008.
39. FN9 9. Abrams 1988.
40. FN10 10. Poulantzas 2000.
41. FN11 11. Ibid.
42. FN12 12. Žižek 1989.
43. FN13 13. Holloway and Picciotto (eds.) 1978.
44. FN14 14. Müller and Neusüss 1970.
45. FN15 15. For a proponent of this tradition, cf. Backhaus 1997.
46. FN16 16. For an English-language introduction to the debate, see Altvater and Hoffmann 1990.
47. FN17 17. Poulantzas 1973, p. 132.
48. FN18 18. Poulantzas 2000, p. 52.
49. FN19 19. Althusser 2008.
50. FN20 20. Laclau 1977.
51. FN21 21. Althusser 2005, p. 239.
52. FN22 22. Lefebvre 1971.
53. FN23 23. Lefebvre 1991, pp. 59ff.
54. FN24 24. Ibid.
55. FN25 25. Ibid.
56. FN26 26. Ibid.
57. FN27 27. Althusser 2005, p. 232; Althusser 2008, pp. 34ff.; for a critical position, see Flatschart 2008, pp. 36ff.
58. FN28 28. Lacan 1998, pp. 210ff.
59. FN29 29. Bhaskar 2008, p. 56.
60. FN30 30. Marx 1974, p. 825.

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Affiliations: 1: University of Vienna


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