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This essay offers a rejoinder to Balibar’s reconstruction of Althusser’s thought. The author analyzes Balibar’s reading by attending to its formal protocols and substantive arguments, especially the transposition of the aporias in Althusser’s theoretical formulations, moving from a...
This essay focuses on the cinematic form of revolutionary melodrama, or, more specifically, on alterations made to family melodrama in the construction of the big socialist family as an imagined social space. Reading Red Detachment of Women (1961) in the tradition of family melodrama, the author...
In “Althusser’s Dramaturgy and the Critique of Ideology,” Étienne Balibar reconstructs Althusser’s quest for “a critical concept of ideology” and offers one of his own. Both moves are based on close attention to the relation between theater and politics. Power is always theatrical...
This article argues that Dogville , a film by the polemical Danish director Lars von Trier (2003) , has a great deal to say on the themes of freedom and of the ambiguity of oppression. This discussion of the film’s philosophical grounding brings several defining ideas of existentialist thought...
An important part of the new interest for the work of Louis Althusser (1918–1990) has focused on his interpretation of “materialist theater,” as proposed in a famous essay from 1962. This is, in fact, hardly separable from discussing again the “pragmatic” reading of his theory of...
In his commentary on what he calls Althusser’s dramaturgy, Étienne Balibar notes the importance of theater as a metaphor and in its literal, material existence as an organized space in which both visibility and invisibility are staged. This essay attempts to explore the importance of the...
This essay argues that Étienne Balibar, in his essay on Althusser’s dramaturgy, uses the analogy between ideology and theatrical performance to defend the significance of politics as a performance that is anything but free—that is, rather, informed and invested with meaning by its...
Balibar’s consideration of Althusser’s notion of dramaturgy suggests that we might rethink conventional ways of understanding ideology. Althusser works out his views on dramaturgy through an engagement with Brecht, and so it makes sense to consider how Benjamin’s reading of Brecht offers an...
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