The Difficulty of Being a Marxist in Philosophy

Mozzachiodi, Roberto Marino. 2022. The Difficulty of Being a Marxist in Philosophy. Historical Materialism, 30(3), pp. 116-144. ISSN 1465-4466 [Article]

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Abstract or Description

This article seeks to locate Louis Althusser’s late preoccupation with the status of Marxists in philosophy through a survey of archival and marginal texts written on and amid struggles within the French education system. This material evidences that Althusser held a long-term ambition to reconcile the demands of being a Marxist in his professional life with the demands of being a philosopher in his political life. On this basis, this article offers an expanded contextualisation of the stakes that weighed upon Althusser’s shifting understanding and inhabitation of a Marxist position in philosophy. It aims to show that Althusser’s involvement with, and changing attitudes towards, the educational institution (and in particular the teaching of philosophy) played a significant role in forging the discontinuities in his conceptualisation of Marxist philosophy. The article additionally traces the afterlife of this practice in the work of Jacques Derrida and the Groupe de recherches sur l’enseignement de a philosophe (GREPH).

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Louis Althusser; Jacques Derrida; École Normale Supérieure; GREPH; Marxist philosophy; education

Departments, Centres and Research Units:

Media, Communications and Cultural Studies


6 July 2022Published Online
November 2022Published

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Date Deposited:

08 Nov 2022 11:53

Last Modified:

31 Jul 2023 13:53

Peer Reviewed:

Yes, this version has been peer-reviewed.


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