On the Reproduction of Capitalism, A Critical-Theory Guide

The Book

On the Reproduction of Capitalism has, until February of this year, been unavailable in English. If many of these ideas sound familiar, it’s because the key essay, “Ideology and Ideological State Apparatuses,” published in 1970 and appearing in English in the following year was derived from previously unpublished manuscripts which now appear in this volume. Althusser’s original 1970 essay is only a fragment of the larger manuscript, reproducing only 3 out of 12 chapters in their entirety, with fragments from some of the other chapters incorporated.¬† There even exists two versions of the manuscript, the current publication contains the second in its entirety.

Containing many previously unpublished footnotes, the English edition is also chock full of illuminating notes from the translator, at times even commenting on Althusser’s scribblings on the original manuscript.

I’m the first to admit I’m not the biggest Althusser fan, and possibly suspect he’s a bit of a fascist. But whether you’re interested in learning about Marxist as a critic or aficionado, or possibly just interested into the history and development of Marxist thought, this book rules.

I have to say that I’m a sucker for glimpses into Althusser’s writing process, whether it’s a deletion here or a margin note there. While the book doesn’t reproduce the marginalia in its entirety (to my knowledge), the translators commentary on the original manuscript is great. It also features a foreword¬† from Althusser’s student, Etienne Balibar and another from Jacques Bidet which details the genesis of Althusser’s manuscripts.

You can buy the book here.