Selections from Althusser`s lesson by Jacques Ranciere

Jacques Ranciere

Althusser`s lesson

Tr. by E. Battista. New York: Continuum2011 [1974].

I wrote a blog entry on my first reading on the book on January 16, 2014

In Besancon, however, when Lip workers began to speak, what they put forward was a coherent discourse about their practices.  There were none of the words, cries of indignation or formulaic sentences that leftist practice cuts from the discourse of revolt and pastes onto the discourse of the spokesperson for the universal proletarian.  What they gave us, instead, was a veritable theory of what they were doing, a theory where the ideas of May 1968 joined hands with the syndicalist tradition, but also one where we recognized a new kind of ‘fusion’: that of the experience of the workers’ struggle with a Christian ideology that yearns, it seems, to be something other than ‘the sigh of the oppressed creature’. ([1974] 2011: 120-1)

‘When the prisoners begin to speak’, Foucault says, ‘they possessed an individual theory of prisons, the penal system, and justice.’  It will be pointed out, certainly, that prisoners are in a privileged position to theorize their condition. ([1974] 2011: 120)

Note that the quote from Foucault conversation with Deleuze (1972) has a somewhat different tone from his discussion of the Panopticon in Discipline and Publish.

created on Mon Jan 13 09:41:49 2014