The present form of this Glossary requires some explanation. Many of the entries are the same as those in the Glossary which I prepared for the English translation of For Marx. Included here as well, however, are concepts from Reading Capital, making it, in effect, a completely new Glossary. Althusser's Letter to the Translator, written originally to accompany the Glossary in For Marx, explains the nature of his own corrections -- marked 'L.A.' in the text.

Technical Marxist terms are only included in this Glossary when they have a special meaning for Althusser and Balibar. The same is true for the terms from the Freudian theory of instincts used by Balibar in Chapter 2 of his paper.

Ben Brewster

A B S T R A C T (abstrait ). For Althusser, the theoretical opposition

between the abstract and the concrete lies wholly in the realm
of theory. The abstract is the starting-point for theoretical practice, its Generality I (q.v.), while the concrete is its end- point (Generality III). The common theoretical view that regards theory as abstract and reality as concrete is characteristic of
the works of Feuerbach and of Marx's own youth.

A L I E N A T I O N (aliénation, Entdusserung ). An ideological concept

used by Marx in his Early Works (q.v.) and regarded by the parti- sans of these works as the key concept of Marxism. Marx derived the term from Feuerbach's anthropology where it denoted the state of man and society where the essence of man is only pre- sent to him in the distorted form of a god, which, although man created it in the image of his essence (the species-being), ap- pears to him as an external, pre-existing creator. Marx used the concept to criticize the State and the economy as confiscating the real self-determining labour of men in the same way. In his later works, however, the term appears very rarely, and where it does it is either used ironically, or with a different conceptual content (in Capital, for instance).

B R E A K, E P I S T E M O L O G I C A L (coupure epistémologique ). A con-

cept introduced by Gaston Bachelard in his La Formation de l'esprit scientifique, and

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related to uses of the term in studies in the history of ideas by Canguilhem and Foucault (see Althusser's Letter to the Trans-
lator, which follows this glossary). It describes the leap from the pre-scientific world of ideas to the scientific world; this leap involves a radical break with the whole pattern and frame of reference of the pre-scientific (ideological) notions, and the construction of a new pattern (problematic q.v.). Althusser applies it to Marx's rejection of the Hegelian and Feuerbachian ideology of his youth and the construction of the basic concepts of dialectical and historical materialism (q.v.) in his later works.

C A U S A L I T Y, L I N E A R, E X P R E S S I V E A N D S T R U C T U R A L

(causalité linéaire, expressive et structurale ). Whereas class- ical theories of causality have only two models, linear (trans- itive, mechanical) causality, which only describes the effects of one element on another, and expressive (teleological) causality, which can describe the effect of the whole on the parts, but only by making the latter an 'expression' of the former, a phenomenon of its essence, Marxist theory introduces a new concept of the effect of the whole on the parts, structural, complex causality, where the complex totality (q.v.) of the structure in dominance (q.v.) is a structure of effects with present-absent causes. The cause of the effects is the complex organization of the whole, present-absent in its economic, political, ideological and know- ledge effects. Marx himself often used the theatrical analogy of the Darstellung (representation, mise en scène ). Empiricist ideologies, seeing the action on the stage, the effects, believe that they are seeing a faithful copy of reality, recognizing themselves and their preconceptions in the mirror held up to them by the play (see D E N E G A T I O N). The Hegelian detects the hand of God or the Spirit writing the script and directing the play. For the Marxist, on the contrary, this is a theatre, but one which reflects neither simple reality nor any transcendental truth, a theatre without an author; the object of his science is the mechanism which produces the stage effects.

C O M B I N A T I O N / C O M B I N A T O R Y (combination,Verbindung /com-

binatoire ). The only theory of the totality (q.v.) available to classical philosophy is the Leibnizian conception of an express- ive totality (totalité expressive ) in which each part 'conspires' in the essence of the totality, so that the whole can be read in each of the parts, which are total parts (partes totales ) homo- logous with it. Modern structuralism (q.v.) reproduces this ide- ology in its concept of a combinatory, a formal pattern of re- lations and (arbitrarily occupied) places which recur as homo- logous patterns with a different content throughout the social formation and its history. Theoretically, the combinatory will produce all the possible structures of the social formation, past, present and future, which are or will be realized or not accord- ing to chance or to some kind of principle of natural selection. Marxism has an apparently similar concept, that of combination or Verbindung (Marx). The Verbindung, however, has nothing in common with

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the formalism of the combinatory: it is a complex structure, doubly articulated (in the mode of production, by the productive forces connexion and the relations of production connexion -- q.v.), and one that specifies its content (its 'supports' -- q.v.), which changes with a change in the formation or mode of production analysed.

C O N C R E T E - I N - T H O U G H T / R E A L - C O N C R E T E (concret-de-pensée/

concret-réel ). In Feuerbach's ideology, the speculative abstract (q.v.), theory, is opposed to the concrete, reality. For the mature Marx, however, the theoretical abstract and concrete both exist in thought as Generalities I and III (q.v.). The concrete-in-thought is produced wholly in thought, whereas the real-concrete 'sur- vives independently outside thought before and after' (Marx).

C O N J U N C T U R E (conjoncture ). The central concept of the Marxist

science of politics (cf. Lenin's 'current moment'); it denotes the exact balance of forces, state of overdetermination (q.v.) of the contradictions at any given moment to which political tactics must be applied.

C O N S C I O U S N E S S (conscience ). A term designating the region

where ideology is located ('false consciousness') and supersed-
ed ('true consciousness'), contaminated by the pre-Marxist ide- ology of the Young Marx. In fact, Althusser argues, ideology is profoundly unconscious -- it is a structure imposed involuntar- ily on the majority of men.

C O N T R A D I C T I O N (contradiction ). A term for the articulation of

a practice (q.v.) into the complex whole of the social formation (q.v.). Contra- dictions may be antagonistic or non-antagonistic according to whether their state of overdetermination (q.v.) is one of fusion or condensation, or one of displacement (q.v.). Bal- ibar also uses contradiction in a more limited sense in relation to the theory of 'tendency' (q.v.). The 'causes' which counter-act the tendency of the rate of profit to fall are identical with the 'causes' of the original tendency -- these causes (non-contradic- tory) have reciprocally limiting (contradictory) effects: they define the possible limits of variation (Grenzen ) within which an element or relation within the mode of production or social formation moves. They also define other limits (Schranken ): the barriers beyond which the mode of production or social forma- tion itself cannot go.

C O N T R A D I C T I O N S, C O N D E N S A T I O N, D I S P L A C E M E N T A N D

F U S I O N O F (condensation, déplacement et fusion des contra- dictions ). Condensation and displacement were used by Freud
to indicate the two ways dream-thoughts are represented in
the dream-work -- by the compression of a number of dream- thoughts into one image, or by transferring psychical intensity from one image to another. Althusser uses the analogy of these processes of psychical overdetermination to denote the differ- ent forms of the overdetermination (q.v.) of contradictions in
the Marxist theory of history. In periods of stability the essen- tial contradictions of the social

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formation are neutralized by displacement; in a revolutionary situation, however, they may condense or fuse into a revolutionary rupture.

D E N E G A T I O N (dénégation, Vernesnung ). Freud used the term

Verneinung (normally translated into English as negation, but denegation has been used in this text because of the Hegelian ambiguity of negation ) to designate an unconscious denial masked by a conscious acceptance, or vice versa (in fetishisms, for example, there is a denegation of the female's absence of a penis). Translated into French as dénégation, it is one of a set
of concepts for the place of the conscious system in the total psychic mechanism (the unconscious) which Althusser applies
by analogy to the place of ideology in the social formation. The role of historical materialism is to analyse (in the strict sense) the mechanisms producing the ideological recognition of the ob- vious, given facts, just as psycho-analysis explains the mech- anism producing the mirror-recognition of Narcissistic identi- fication with the other. This mythical recognition structure, typical of ideology, explains the latter's closed circular nature, its homology with wish-fulfilment (plein-du-désir ) in analysis, as ideology fulfilment (plein- de-idéologie ). Science and anal- ysis, on the other hand, are open systems of concepts, because they cannot be defined by any spatial metaphor.

D E V E L O P M E N T, U N E V E N (développement inégal ). A concept of

Lenin and Mao Tse-tung: the overdetermination (q.v.) of all the contradictions in a social formation (q.v.) means that none can develop simply; the different overdeterminations in different times and places result in quite different patterns of social development.

D I A L E C T I C O F C O N S C I O U S N E S S (dialectique de la conscience ).

The Hegelian dialectic, or any dialectic where the various ele- ments or moments are externalizations of a single, simple, in- ternal principle, as Rome in Hegel's Philosophy of History is an expression of the abstract legal personality, etc.

D I S L O C A T I O N (décalage ). Empiricist and historicist problemat-

ics assume a one-to-one correspondence (correspondence bi- univoque ) between the concepts of a science and its real object, and a relation of expressive homology between these objects themselves (although these correspondences may be direct or inverted -- i.e., the order of emergence of the concepts in the science may follow the historical sequence, or, on the contrary, follow a reverse order). Althusser argues, on the contrary, that the relations between ideology and the other practices, between the different practices in general, between the elements in each practice, and between ideology and science, are, in principle, re- lations of dislocations, staggered with respect to one another: each has its own time and rhythrn of development. The totality
is the theory of their articulation together, so it cannot be dis- covered by making an 'essential section' (q.v.) through the cur- rent of historical movement at any time one. This dislocation plays an important part in the theory of transition (q.v.).

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E F F E C T I V I T Y, S P E C I F I C (efficacité spécifique ). The character-

istic of Marx's later theory: the different aspects of the social formation are not related as in Hegel's dialectic of conscious- ness (q.v.) as phenomena and essence, each has its precise influ- ence on the complex totality, the structure in dominance (q.v.). Thus base and super-structure (q.v.) must not be conceived as vulgar Marxism conceives them, as essence and phenomenon,
the State and ideology are not mere expressions of the econo-
my, they are autonomous within a structured whole where one aspect is dominant, this dominance being determined in the last instance by the economy.

E M P I R I C I S M (empirisme ). Althusser uses the concept of empir-

icism in a very wise sense to include all 'epistemologies' that oppose a given subject to a given object and call knowledge the abstraction by the subject of the essence of the object. Hence
the knowledge of the object is part of the object itself. This remains true whatever the nature of the subject (psychological, historical, etc.) or of the object (continuous, discontinuous, mobile, immobile, etc.) in question. So as well as covering those epistemologies traditionally called 'empiricist', this definition includes classical idealism, and the epistemology of Feuerbach and the Young Marx.

F E T I S H I S M (fétichisme ). Fetishism is the mechanism which

conceals the real functioning (the real movement -- wirkliche Bewegung ) of the dominant structure in the social formation, i.e., it is the constitutive dislocation (q.v.) between the ideo- logical practice and the other practices (q.v.). This is not a sub- jective mystification, but the mode of appearance of reality (Marx calls it a reality -- Wirklichkeit ). In the capitalist mode of production it takes the form of the fetishism of commodi- ties, i.e., the personification of certain things (money-capital) and the 'reification' of a certain relationship (labour). It does
not consist of a general 'reification' of all relationships, as some humanist interpretations of Marx argue, but only of this particular relationship. Fetishism is not absent from other modes of production, it is merely displaced onto whichever level is dominant in the social formation characterized by that mode of production.

F O R M A T I O N, S O C I A L (formation sociale ). [A concept denoting

'society' so-called. L. A.]. The concrete complex whole com- prising economic practice, political practice and ideological practice (q.v.) at a certain place and stage of development. Historical materialism is the science of social formations.

G E N E R A L I T I E S I, I I A N D I I I (Généralités I, II et III ). In the-

oretical practice (q.v.), the process of the production of knowl- edge, Generalities I are the abstract, part-ideological, part- scientific generalities that are the raw material of the science, Generalities III are the concrete, scientific generalities that
are produced, while Generalities II are the theory of the science at a given moment, the means of production of knowledge (q.v.).

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H I S T O R I C I S M (historicisme ). A currently widespread interpre-

tation of Marxism which originated around the time of the Octo- ber Revolution, and which dominates the ideas of authors as diverse as Lukács, Korsch, Gramsci, Della Volpe, Colletti and Sartre. It is characterized by a linear view of time (q.v.) sus- ceptible to an essenial secion (q.v.) into a present at any mo- ment. The knowledge of history is then the self-consciousness
of each present. This self-consciousness of the present may take a number of forms; (different 'mediaions' may intercede between the historian and the totality): the class consciousness of the revolutionary proletariat (Lukács), the organic ideology of the ruling (hegemonic) class (Gramsci), or the pracice of human inter-subjectivity as a whole, human 'praxis' (Sartre). Histori- cisms may or may not be humanist (Sartre and Colletti res- pectively).

H U M A N I S M (humanisme ). Humanism is the characteristic feature

of the ideological problematic (q.v.) from which Marx emerged, and more generally, of most modern ideology; a particularly conscious form of humanism is Feuerbach's anthropology, which dominates Marx's Early Works (q.v.). As a science, however, his- torical materialism, as exposed in Marx's later works, implies a theoretical anti-humanism. 'Real-humanism' characterizes the works of the break (q.v.): the humanist form is retained, but us- ages such as 'the ensemble of the social relations' point for- ward to the concepts of historical materialism. However, the ideology (q.v.) of a socialist society may be a humanism, a pro- letarian 'class humanism' [an expression I obviously use in a provisional, half-critical sense. L. A.].

I D E O L O G Y (idéologie ). Ideology is the 'lived' relation between

men and their world, or a reflected form of this unconscious relation, for instance a 'philosophy' (q.v.), etc. It is distinguished from a science not by its falsity, for it can be coherent and log- ical (for instance, theology), but by the fact that the practico- social predominates in it over the theoretical, over knowledge. Historically, it precedes the science that is produced by making an epistemological break (q.v.) with it, but it survives alongside science as an essential element of every social formation (q.v.), including a socialist and even a communist society.

K N O W L E D G E (connaissance ). Knowledge is the product of theor-

etical practice (q.v.); it is Generalities III (q.v.). As such it is clearly distinct from the practical recognition (reconnaissance ) of a theoretical problem.

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M A T E R I A L I S M, D I A L E C T I C A L A N D H I S T O R I C A L (matérial-

isme, dialectique et historique ). Historicists, even those who claim to be Marxists, reject the classical Marxist distinction between historical and dialectical materialism since they see philosophy as the self-knowledge of the historical process, and hence identify philosophy and the science of history; at best, dialectical materialism is reduced to the historical method, while the science of history is its content. Althusser, rejecting historicism, rejects this identification. For him, historical materialism is the science of history, while dialectical materialism, Marxist philosophy, is the theory of scientific practice (see T H E O R Y).

M O D E L (modèle ). The theory of models is a variant of empiricism

(q.v.). According to this theory, Capital, for example, analyses not the real capitalist world, but the properties of an ideal, simplified model of it, which is then applied to empirical re- ality, which, of course, it only fits approximately. For Althusser, the theory in Capital is only 'ideal' in the sense that it only involves the object of knowledge, like all theory, not the real object, and the knowledge it produces is perfectly adequate to its object, not an approximation to it. Related to the general theory of models are both the view that Volume Three of Capital is a concretization, removing the simplifications of the ideal model of Volume One, and the theory of the 'English example' in Capital as a model for capitalist development everywhere else. For Althusser, Volume Three is as much concerned with the ob- ject of knowledge as Volume One, and England is only a source of illustrations in Capital, not a theoreical norm.

N E G A T I O N O F T H E N E G A T I O N (négation de la négation ). A He-

gelian conception that Marx 'flirts' with even in his mature
works. It denotes the process of destruction and resumption (supersession/Aufhebung. q.v.) whereby the Spirit moves from
one stage of its development to another. For Marx, it describes
the fact that capitalism, having come into being by the de- struction of feudalism, is itself destined to be destroyed by
the rise of socialism and communism [this description makes
a metaphorical use of the notion. L. A.].

O V E R D E T E R M I N A T I O N (surdétermination, Überdeterminierung )

Freud used this term to describe (among other things) the re- presentation of the dream-thoughts in images privileged by
their condensation of a number of thoughts in a single image (condensation/Verdichtung ), or by the transference of psychic energy from a particularly potent thought to apparently trivial images (displacement/Verschiebung-Verstellung ). Althusser uses the same term to describe the effects of the contradictions in each practice (q.v.) constituting the social formation (q.v.) on the social formation as a whole, and hence back on each practice and each contradiction, defining the pattern of dominance and subordination, antagonism and non-antagonism of the contra- dictions in the structure in dominance (q.v.) at any given his- torical moment. More precisely, the overdetermination

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of a contradiction is the reflection in it of its conditions of existence within the complex whole, that is, of the other contradictions in the complex whole, in other words its uneven development (q.v.).

'P H I L O S O P H Y' / P H I L O S O P H Y ('philosophie '/philosophie ). 'Phi-

losophy' (in inverted commas) is used to denote the reflected forms of ideology (q.v.) as opposed to Theory (q.v.). See Althus- ser's own 'Remarks on the Terminology Adopted' [in "On the Materialist Dialectic". --PROBLEM -- ALSO ON FOR MARX!! DJR] p. 162 . Philosophy (without in- verted commas) is used in the later written essays to denote Marxist philosophy, i.e., dialectical materialism.

P R A C T I C E, E C O N O M I C, P O L I T I C A L, I D E O L O G I C A L A N D T H E -

O R I E T I C A L (pratique économique, politique, idéologique et théorique ). Althusser takes up the theory introduced by Engels and much elaborated by Mao Tse-tung that economic, political and ideological practice are the three practices (processes of production or transformation) that constitute the social form- ation (q.v.). Economic practice is the transformation of nature
by human labour into social products, political practice the transformation of social relations by revolution, ideological practice the transformation of one relation to the lived world into a new relation by ideological struggle. In his concern to stress the distinction between science and ideology (q.v.), Al- thusser insists that theory constitutes a fourth practice, the- oretical practice, that transforms ideology into knowledge with theory. The determinant moment in each practice is the work of production which brings together raw materials, men and means of production -- not the men who perform the work, who cannot therefore claim to be the subjects of the historical process. Subsidiary practices are also discussed by Althusser, e.g. technical practice (pratique technique ).

P R O B L E M A T I C (problématique ). A word or concept cannot be

considered in isolation; it only exists in the theoretical or ide- ological framework in which it is used: its problematic. A re- lated concept can clearly be seen at work in Foucault's Madness and Civilization (but see Althusser's Letter to the Translator).
It should be stressed that the problematic is not a world-view.
It is not the essence of the thought of an individual or epoch which can be deduced from a body of texts by an empirical, generalizing reading; it is centred on the absence of problems and concepts within the problematic as much as their presence; it can therefore only be reached by a symptomatic reading (lecture symptomale ) on the model of the Freudian analyst's reading of his patient's utterances.

P R O D U C T I O N / D I S C O V E R Y O F A K N O W L E D G E (production /

découverte d'une connaissance ). Engels noted the difference between Priestley's production of oxygen without realizing the theoretical significance of the new substance, and Lavoisier's discovery of (the concept of) oxygen, with its revolutionary consequences for the science of chemistry. He compared this with the difference between the production of the reality of surplus-value in classical economic theory and Marx's discovery of the concept of

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surplus-value. The slightly pejorative use of production here should not be confused with Althusser's insistence that know- ledge is a specific mode of production (q.v.).

P R O D U C T I O N, M O D E O F (mode de production, Produktionsweise ).

The mode of material production is the central concept of the theory of the economic practice of the social formation. It is itself a complex structure, doubly articulated by the productive forces connexion and the relations of production connexion (q.v.), and containing three elements: the labourer, the means of pro- duction (sub-divided into object of labour and instrument of labour), and the non-labourer. The term can also be applied by analogy to any other practice or level, for they are all also doubly articulated, contain a similar set of elements, and pro- duce a specific product.

P R O D U C T I V E F O R C E S / R E L A T I O N S O F P R O D U C T I O N (forces

productives /rapports de production ). These concepts are gen- erally taken (even by some Marxists) to mean the machines or their productivity on the one hand, and the human relations be- tween the members of a society on the other. For Althusser and Balibar, on the contrary, they are the two different articula- tions of the combination (q.v.) of the mode of production: they
are both 'relations' (connexions -- relations ) combining togeth- er labourers, means of production and non-labourers within the mode of production. The productive forces constitute the con- nexion of real appropriation (wirkliche Aneignung ) of nature, or the 'possession' connexion, while the relations of production are the relations of expropriation of the product or the 'property- ownership' connexion (not the corresponding 'law of property' which is not even an 'expression' of the relations of production, but a structure dislocated from them, a superstructure). This double articulation appears in every aspect of the mode of production, in the difference between use-value and exchange value, and in the difference between the technical and the social division of labour, etc. While the productive forces cannot be reduced to machines or quantifiable techniques, the relations of production can not be reduced to relations between men alone, to human relations or inter-subjectivity, as they are in the histor- icist ideology (q.v.).

R E A D I N G (lecture ). The problems of Marxist theory (or of any

other theory) can only be solved by learning to read the texts correctly (hence the title of Althusser's later book, Lire le Capital, 'Reading Capital '); neither a superficial reading, col- lating literal references, nor a Hegelian reading, deducing the essence of a corpus by extracting the 'true kernel from the mystified shell', will do. Only a symptomatic reading (lecture symptomale -- see P R O B L E M A T I C), constructing the proble- matic, the unconsciousness of the text, is a reading of Marx's work that will allow us to establish the epistemological break that makes possible historical materialism as a science (q.v.). Both Hegelian and empiricist readings are attempts to return

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to the myth of direct communication, to the Logos, and they therefore have a religious inspiration. Marx's own reading of the classics provides an example of symptomatic reading. While apparently merely recording the discoveries of the classics, their sightings (vues ) and at the same time noting their omis- sions (manques ) and oversights (bévues ), Marx in fact shows that the classical texts contain something in their omissions that the classics did not know they contained. The symptomatic reading analyses the textual mechanism which produces the sightings and oversights rather than merely recording it.

R E P R O D U C T I O N (reproduction ). Simple reproduction is often

regarded as simplified 'model' (q.v.) of extended reproduction, and the analysis of reproduction as the realization of production in history, the introduction of temporality into the analysis of production, in the form of the conditions of its continuation. Balibar shows, however, that simple reproduction is the concept of social production. Social production is only apparently the production of things; in reality it is the production of a social relation, i.e., the reproduction of the relations of production. Hence simple and extended reproduction are synchronic (q.v.) concepts of the mode of production.

S C I E N C E (science ). See I D E O L O G Y and P R A C T I C E.

S E C T I O N , E S S E N T I A L (coupe d'essence ). Ideological theories

(empiricism, idealism, historicism) see the historical totality as analysable in a present, a contemporaneity, in which the re- lations between the parts can be seen and recorded. To see this present implies the possibility of cutting a section through the historical current, a section in which the essence of that current is visible. This essential section is impossible for Althusser and Balibar because there is no present for all the elements and structures at once in their conceptual system (see T I M E). The possibility of an essential section is one of the positive tests for an empiricist ideology of history.

S P O N T A N E I T Y (spontaneité ). A term employed by Lenin to

criticize an ideological and political tendency in the Russian Social-Democratic movement that held that the revolutionary movement should base itself on the 'spontaneous' action of the working class rather than trying to lead it by imposing on this action, by means of a party, policies produced by the party's theoretical work. [For Lenin, the real spontaneity, capacity for action, inventiveness and so on, of the 'masses', was to be re- spected as the most precious aspect of the workers' movement: but at the same time Lenin condemned the 'ideology of sponta- neity' (a dangerous ideology) shared by his opponents (populists and 'Socialist Revolutionaries'), and recognized that the real spontaneity of the masses was to be sustained and criticized
in the mean time in order to 'liberate' it from the influence of bourgeois ideology. L. A.]. In this sense, Lenin argued that to
make concessions to 'spontaneity' was to hand the revolution- ary movement over to the power of bourgeois ideology, and
hence to the counter-revolution.

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Althusser generalizes this by arguing that each practice (q.v.) and its corresponding science must not be left to develop on their own, however successful they may temporarily be, since
to do so leaves the field open for an ideology (characteristically pragmatism) to seize hold of the science, and for the counter- revolution to seize the practice. The 'unity of theory and prac- tice' cannot be the simple unity of a reflection, it is the complex one of an epistemological break (q.v.) [in theory. In political practice this unity takes another form (not examined in this book). L. A.].

S T R U C T U R A L I S M (structuralisme ). A fashionable ideology ac-

cording to which only the relations between the elements (i.e., their places) in the totality are significant, and the occupants
of these places are arbitrary. The set of places and relations
is the structuralist combinatory (q.v.). Structuralism also con- ceives of the combinatory as the synchronic structure and its temporal or historical realization, its development, as the diachrony (see S Y N C H R O N Y / D I A C H R O N Y).

S T R U C T U R E, D E C E N T R E D (structure décentrée ). The Hegelian

totality (q.v.) presupposes an original, primary essence that lies behind the complex appearance that it has produced by external- ization in history; hence it is a structure with a centre. The Marxist totality, however, is never separable in this way from
the elements that constitute it, as each is the condition of ex- istence of all the others (see O V E R D E T E R M I N A T I O N); hence it has no centre, only a dominant element, and a determination in the last instance (see S T R U C T U R E I N D O M I N A N C E): it is a decentred structure.

S T R U C T U R E I N D O M I N A N C E (structure à dominante ). The Marx-

ist totality (q.v.) is neither a whole each of whose elements is equivalent as the phenomenon of an essence (Hegelianism), nor are some of its elements epiphenomena of any one of them (economism or mechanism); the elements are asymmetrically related but autonomous (contradictory); one of them is domi- nant. [The economic base 'determines ' ('in the last instance') which element is to be dominant in a social formation (see
Lire le Capital ). L. A.]. Hence it is a structure in dominance.
But the dominant element is not fixed for all time, it varies according to the overdetermination (q.v.) of the contradictions and their uneven development (q.v.). In the social formation this overdetermination is, in the last instance, determined by the economy (determiné en dernière instance de l'économie ). This
is Althusser's clarification of the classical Marxist assertion
that the superstructure (q.v.) is relatively autonomous but the economy is determinant in the last instance. The phrase 'in the last instance' does not indicate that there will be some ulti- mate time or ever was some starting-point when the economy will be or was solely determinant, the other instances preced- ing it or following it: 'the last instance never comes', the structure is always the co-presence of all its elements and
their relations of dominance and subordination -- it is an 'ever- pre-given structure' (structure toujours-déjà-donnée ).

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S T R U C T U R E, E V E R - P R E - G I V E N (structure toujours-déjà-donnée).

See S T R U C T U R E I N D O M I N A N C E

S U P E R S E S S I O N (depassement, Aufhebung ). A Hegelian concept

popular among Marxist-humanists, it denotes the process of historical development by the destruction and retention at a higher level of an old historically determined situation in a new historically determined situation -- e.g. socialism is the super- session of capitalism, Marxism a supersession of Hegelianism. Althusser asserts that it is an ideological concept, and he sub- stitutes for it that of the historical transition, or, in the dev- elopment of a science, by the epistemological break (q.v.).

S U P E R S T R U C T U R E / S T R U C T U R E (superstructure/structure ).

In classical Marxism the social formation (q.v.) is analysed into the components economic structure -- determinant in the last instance -- and relatively autonomous superstructures: (1) the State and law; (2) ideology. Althusser clarifies this by dividing it into the structure (the economic practice) and the super- structure (political and ideological practice). The relation be- tween these three is that of a structure in dominance (q.v.), determined in the last instance by the structure.

S U P P O R T (support, porteur, Träger ). Humanist ideologies see

the social totality as the totality of inter-subjective relations between men, as civil society, tho society of human needs. In other words, they are anthropologies strictly homologous with the classical economic theory of the homo oeconomicus. In Marxist theory, on the contrary, the real protagonists of history are the social relations of production, political struggle and ideology, which are constituted by the place assigned to these prohgonists in the complex structure of the social formation (e.g., the labourer and the capitalist in the capitalist mode of production, defined by their different relations to the means of pro duction). The biological men are only the supports or bearers of the guises (Charaktermasken) assigned to them by the struc- ture of relations in the social formation. Hence each articulation of the mode of production and each level of the social formation defines for itself a potentially different form of historical in- dividuality. The correspondence or non-correspondence of these forms of historical individuality plays an important part in transition (q.v.).

S Y N C H R O N Y / D I A C H R O N Y (synchronie /diachronie ). Althusser

and Balibar oppose the structuralist (q.v.) ideological use of these terms, and insist that the synchrony of an object is merely the concept of that object, existing as one of a set of concepts
in the theory of that object (e.g., tbe synchrony of production is its concept: reproduction -- q.v.). However, they make slightly different uses of the concept of diachrony. Althusser only uses
it to indicate the 'time' of the proof, the fact that the concepts emerge in a certain order in the proof, an order which has no- thing to do with the historical emergence of the real objects of those concepts (see D I S L O C A T I O N). Balibar, on the other hand, uses it to designate the theory of tbe transition from one mode of production to another.

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T E N D E N C Y (tendance, Tendenz ). Marx describes a number of the

capitalist mode of production as tendencies (notably the ten- dency of the rate of profit to fall). These tendencies have often been seen as the patterns of historical development from one mode of production to another, as the symptoms of the 'negation of the negation' (q.v.) which leads to a higher historical phase. Balibar shows that they are in fact merely the concept of the pattern of development peculiar to a mode of production, the concept of the limits of variation (see C O N T R A D I C T I O N ) of
its movement and of the eventual barriers to its development, i.e., they are features of the synchronic analysis (q.v.) of the mode of production, not of the diachronic analysis of the trans- ition from one mode of production to another (see T I M E ).

T H E O R Y, 'T H E O R Y', T H E O R Y (théorie, 'théorie ', Théorie ). For

Althusser theory is a specific, scientific theoretical practice (q.v.). In For Marx, Chapter 6, 'On the Materialist Dialectic', a distinction is also made between 'theory' (in inverted commas), the determinate theoretical system of a given science, and Theory (with a capital T), the theory of practice in general, i.e. dialectical materialism (q.v.). [In a few words in the preface to the Italian translation of Lire le Capital, reproduced in this English translation, I have pointed out that I now regard my definition of philosophy (Theory as 'the Theory of theoretical practice') as a unilateral and, in consequence, false conception of dialectical materialism. Positive indications of the new de- finition I propose can be found: (1) in an interview published in L'Unità in February 1968 and reproduced in the Italian trans- lation of Lire le Capital (Feltrinelli) (not included here) and in La Pensée (April 1968); 2) in Lénine et la philosophie, the text of a lecture I gave to the Société Française de Philosophie in February 1968, and published under the same title by François Maspero in January 1969. The new definition of philosophy can be resumed in three points: (1) philosophy 'represents' the class struggle in the realm of theory, hence philosophy is neither a science, nor a pure theory (Theory), but a political practice of intervention in the realm of theory; (2) philosophy 'represents' scientificity in the realm of political practice, hence philosophy is not the political practice, but a theoretical practice of inter- vention in the realm of politics; (3) philosophy is an original 'instance' (differing from the instances of science and politics ) that represents the one instance alongside (auprès de ) the other, in the form of a specific intervention (political-theoret- ical). L. A.].

T I M E (temps ). Hegelian theories of history see time as the mode

of existence (Dasein ) of the concept (Begriff ). There is there- fore a unique linear time in which the totality of historical possibilities unfolds. Empiricist theories of history as a chron- ology of 'events' accept the same conception of time by default. This simple unilinear time can then be divided into 'events' (short-term phenomena) and 'structures' (long-term phenomena), or

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periodized in evolutionist fashion into self-contemporaneous 'modes of production', the static or 'synchronic' analysis of which has a dynamic or 'diachronic' development in time into another mode of production. This dynamics or diachrony is then history. For Althusser and Balibar, on the contrary, there is no simple unilinear time in which the development of the social formation unfolds: each level of the social formation and each element in each level has a different temporality, and the to- tality is constituted by the articulation together of the dis- locations (q.v.) between these temporalities. It is thus never possible to construct a self-contemporaneity of the structure,
or essential section (q.v.). Historical time is always complex
and multi-linear. The synchrony of the social formation, or of one of its levels or elements, is the concept of its structure,
i.e., of its dislocation and articulation into the totality. It therefore includes both 'static' and 'dynamic' elements (ten- dencies -- q.v.). The term diachrony (q.v. synchrony) can only
be applied to the concept of the phase of transition (q.v.).
History itself is not a temporality, but an epistemological category designating the object of a certain science, historical materialism.

T O T A L I T Y (totalité, Totalität ). An originally Hegelian concept

that has become confused by its use by all theorists who wish
to stress the whole rather than the various parts in any system. However, the Hegelian and the Marxist totalities are quite dif- ferent. The Hegelian totality is the essence behind the multitude of its phenomena, but the Marxist totality is a decentred structure in dominance (q.v.).

T R A N S I T I O N (passage ). Marx's analysis of the transition from

one mode of production to another has two sides. First there is the analysis of the pre-history of the mode of production, the genealogy of its constitutive elements, as they emerge in the interstices of the previous mode of production. Second there is the analysis of the phase of transition itself, which is not a destructuration-restructuration, but a mode of production in
its own right, although one in which there is a dislocation (q.v.)
of a special type rather than a homology between the two articulations of the structure (see P R O D U C T I V E F O R C E S) and therefore between the modes of historical individuality (see
S U P P O R T) defined by the structure, a dislocation within the mode of production and between the mode of production and the other levels of the social formation. This dislocation is such that, rather than defining reciprocal limitations which main- tain the structure within a certain pattern of development, one of the dislocating connexions transforms the other. Thus, the phase of manufacture is a transitional phase in the development of the capitalist mode of production. The labourer is separated from the means of labour in the property connexion; but he is still linked to them in the connexion of real appropriation, through his traditional craft skill. Labourer and instrument of labour are opposed to object of labour. Hence the labour process still has its feudal form, whereas the property relation is cap- italist. The

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introduction of machines breaks down this feudal connexion be- tween the labourer and his means of labour, replacing it by one homologous with the property connexion, in which the means and the object of labour are connected and opposed to the labourer.

W O R K S O F M A R X, E A R L Y, T R A N S I T I O N A L A N D M A T U R E

(Oeuvres de jeunesse, de maturation et de la maturité de Marx ). Althusser rejects the view that Marx's works form a theoretical unity. He divides them as follows: Early Works (up to 1842); Works of the Break (Oeuvres de la Coupure --1845); Transitional Works (1845-47); Mature Works (1857-83). It should be remem- bered, however, that the epistemological break (q.v.) can neither be punctual, nor made once and for all: it is to be thought as a 'continuous break', and its criticism applies even to the latest
of Marx's works, which 'flirt' with Hegelian expressions and contain pre-Marxist 'survivals'.

A Letter to the Translator

Thank you for your glossary; what you have done in it is extremely important from a political, educational and theoretical point of view. I offer you my warmest thanks.

I return your text with a whole series of corrections and interpolations (some of which are fairly long and important, you will see why).

A minor point: you refer twice to Foucault and once to Canguilhem vis-à-vis my use of 'break' and, I think, of 'problematic'. I should like to point out that Canguilhem has lived and thought in close contact with the work of Bachelard for many years, so it is not surprising if he refers somewhere to the term 'epistemological break', although this term is rarely to be found as such in Bachelard's texts (on the other hand, if the term is uncommon, the thing is there all the time from a certain point on in Bachelard's work). But Canguilhem has not used this concept systematically, as I have tried to do. As for Foucault, the uses he explicitly or implicitly makes of the concepts 'break' and 'problematic' are echoes either of Bachelard, or of my own systematic 'use' of Bachelard (as far as 'break' is concerned) and of what I owe to my unfortunate friend Martin (for 'problematic'). I am not telling you this out of 'author's pride' (it means nothing to me), but out of respect both for the authors referred to and for the readers.

As for these authors: Canguilhem 's use of the concept 'break' differs from mine, although his interpretation does tend in the same direction. In fact, this should be put the other way round: my debt to Canguilhem is incalculable, and it is my interpretation that tends in the direction of his, as it is a continuation of his, going beyond the point where his has (for the time being) stopped. Foucault : his case is quite different. He was a pupil of mine, and 'something' from my writings has passed into his, including certain of my

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formulations. But (and it must be said, concerning as it does his own philosophical personality) under his pen and in his thought even the meanings he gives to formulations he has borrowed from me are transformed into another quite different meaning than my own. Please take these corrections into account; I entrust them to you in so far as they may enlighten the English reader (who has access in particular to that great work, Madness and Civilization ), and guide him in his references.

Much more important are the corrections I have suggested for some of your rubrics. In most cases they are merely corrections (precisions) which do not affect the state of the theoretical concepts that figure in the book (For Marx ). They cast a little more light on what you yourself have very judiciously clarified. But in other cases they are corrections of a different kind: bearing on a certain point in Lenin's thought, for example (my interpolation on the question of spontaneity). And finally, in other cases (see my last interpolation), I have tried to give some hints to guide the English reader in the road I have travelled since the (now quite distant) publication of the articles that make up For Marx. You will understand why I am so insistent on all these corrections and interpolations. I urge you to give them a place in your glossary, and add that (1) I have myself gone over the text of the glossary line by line, and (2) I have made changes in matters of detail (which need not be indicated) and a few important interpolations.

As a result, everything should be perfectly dear. And we shall have removed the otherwise inevitable snare into which readers of 1969 would certainly have 'fallen', if they were allowed to believe that the author of texts that appeared one by one between 1960 and 1965 has remained in the position of these old articles whereas time has not ceased to pass. . . . You can easily imagine the theoretical, ideological and political misunderstandings that could not but have arisen from this 'fiction', and how much time and effort would have had to be deployed to 'remove' these misunderstandings. The procedure I suggest has the advantage that it removes any misunderstanding of this kind in advance, since, on the one hand, I leave the system of concepts of 1960 to 1965 as it was, while on the other, I indicate the essential point in which I have developed in the intervening years -- since, finally, I give references to the new writings that contain the new definition of philosophy that I now hold, and I summarize the new conception which I have arrived at (provisionally -- but what is not provisional?).

Louis Althusser, 19 January 1970

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