Althusser and Poulantzas: Hegemony and the State

Come citare

Sotiris, P. (2017). Althusser and Poulantzas: Hegemony and the State. ——— Materialismo Storico ——— Rivista Di Filosofia, Storia E Scienze Umane, 2(1), 115–163.


The aim of this paper is to examine Althusser’s and Poulantzas’s confrontation with the work of Antonio Gramsci regarding in particular questions of hegemony and State theory. I try to retrace their various encounters and missed encounters with the work of Gramsci in order to show both the profound influence it had upon them but also how they both in fact misinterpreted crucial aspects of Gramsci’s work. Regarding Althusser, I stress the influence Gramsci had upon his conceptualization of the Ideological Apparatuses of the State but also his inability to discern the non idealist and non teleological character of Gramsci’s historicism and his tendency to underestimate the complexity of the notion of hegemony and Gramsci’s conception of the integral State. Moreover, I try to see this in the context of Althusser’s interventions in the debates on the State and strategy of the 1970s. Regarding Poulantzas, I stress his continuing dialogue with Gramsci, and how Gramsci influenced his theory of the State. I also stress that one of the contradictions of Poulantzas’s work was that the closer he came to thematic and conceptualization that were compatible with Gramsci’s theory of hegemony and the integral State, the more critical he tended to be towards Gramsci. Based on this elaboration, I try to stress the need for new theorizations of both State and strategy based upon both Gramsci and the work of Althusser and Poulantzas.

Key words: Althusser; Poulantzas; Gramsci; Hegemony; Integral State.

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