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Showing posts from June, 2009

The Colonial System and Algerian Nationalism.

“[A]nd each day hundreds of new orphans, Arabs and French, awakened in every corner of Algeria, sons and daughters without fathers who would now have to learn to live without guidance and without heritage” – Albert Camus, ‘The First Man’.

In the early months of 1958, Hneri Alleg’s La Question was published in France and caused an immediate scandal for its first-hand description of torture by the French military in Algeria. For Alleg, the scourge of institutionalized torture not only afflicted the native Algerians, but functioned as “a school of perversion for young Frenchman”. In the long course of the war (1954-1962), dehumanization of the enemy led to increasingly brutal manifestations of violence. Albert Camus bemoaned the war for its extreme tactics and for severing two interconnected communities. However, these two communities, the indigenous and the European, had never constituted an organic whole. Part of the strategic logic of Nationalist terrorism was to provoke a heavy-hande…

Ideology and Symbolic power: Between Althusser and Bourdieu.

Western Marxism has often laid considerable stress upon the ideology of modern capitalist societies. This focus upon ideology stems from the failure of proletarian revolution to have either occurred, or establish socialism within Western Europe. The exact nature and function of ideology became paramount in Marxian explanations of the continued stability of Western capitalism after the Great War and Great Depression. Marxian conceptualizations of symbolic domination (under the notion of ideology) remain in the realm of consciousness and intellectual frameworks. Pierre Bourdieu developed a paradigm for understanding symbolic power and domination through his theory of dispositional practices that breaks with the concept of ideology and it basis in the tradition of ‘Kantian intellectualism’. This theoretical model both deepens and broadens the sociological understanding of symbolic power and domination, through the acknowledgment of non-intellectual and bodily elements in the dynamics of…

Neoclassical Economics and the Problem of Realization.

The Neoclassical School of economic theory emerged from a dissatisfaction with classical political economy and the labour theory of value. Critics of capitalism, from the Marxian tradition, had hijacked the precepts of the classical school to analyze the historical tendencies of capital accumulation and the stumbling blocks inherent within the process. In a maneuver which ostensibly undermined the Marxian conception of exploitation and therefore capitalism, the neoclassical school sought to explain economic systems in terms of markets and the arbiter of economic allocation, the price mechanism. From this focus, the neoclassical economists developed the theory of general equilibrium, under which the price mechanism (within a condition of perfect competition) is conceived of as self-regulating, self-adjusting and therefore a stabilizing apparatus. In diametrical opposition, the Marxian tradition of political economy characterizes capitalism in terms of instability, structural contradic…