A critique of aspects of Louis Althusser's epistemology as employed by Manuel Castells

 

Show simple item record

dc.contributor.advisor Jubber, Ken en_ZA
dc.contributor.author Marais, Linda Jean en_ZA
dc.date.accessioned 2015-12-13T04:21:21Z
dc.date.available 2015-12-13T04:21:21Z
dc.date.issued 1984 en_ZA
dc.identifier.citation Marais, L. 1984. A critique of aspects of Louis Althusser's epistemology as employed by Manuel Castells. University of Cape Town. en_ZA
dc.identifier.uri http://hdl.handle.net/11427/15791
dc.description Bibliography: leaf 189-197. en_ZA
dc.description.abstract This thesis is an assessment of Castells' claim to have used Althusserian epistemology both as a theoretical basis for a critique of empiricist urban sociology, and in the establishment of a Marxist scientific alternative. To this end, Castells employed the Althusserian conception of the social totality, which was characterized by a complex structured unity of relatively autonomous instances with their own laws of development, This was intended to establish the last-instance determination by the economy, and to avoid the empiricist portrayal of the relationship between base and superstructure as one of essence and phenomena, According to Althusser, theory, like the other relatively autonomous practices, has its own specific raw material, labour and product, and was thus separate from and irreducible to any of the other practices. Each chapter of this thesis outlines an aspect of Althusser's work that can explicitly or implicitly be identified in Castells' writings. The critical responses to Althusserianism are then examined in order to disclose the unresolved and contradictory elements of his position, and the extent to which these have led to problems in Castells' work, More importantly, it is argued that Castells' theoretical allegiance to Althusser is deliberately inconsistent: he has significantly altered every controversial tenet of the latter, while neglecting to acknowledge that these changes are in fact distortions which directly oppose the character of Althusserianism, Castells wavers between contradictory epistemologies, and this results in his analyses being stranded between Althusserian theoreticism and empiricism. It is my contention that Castells wished to use the ready-made Althusserian system without falling prey to its unpalatable implications, especially Althusser's conclusion that Marxism is a science that produces ideology for the masses, who are never able to achieve a genuine cognitive appropriation of reality, and are thus unable to participate in the development of theory. This reduction of individual consciousness to ideology undermined the significance of class consciousness and political practice, which are commonly regarded as the fundamental principles of revolutionary Marxist practice. en_ZA
dc.language.iso eng en_ZA
dc.subject.other Sociology en_ZA
dc.title A critique of aspects of Louis Althusser's epistemology as employed by Manuel Castells en_ZA
dc.type Master Thesis
uct.type.publication Research en_ZA
uct.type.resource Thesis en_ZA
dc.publisher.institution University of Cape Town
dc.publisher.faculty Faculty of Humanities en_ZA
dc.publisher.department Department of Sociology en_ZA
dc.type.qualificationlevel Masters
dc.type.qualificationname MSocSc en_ZA
uct.type.filetype Text
uct.type.filetype Image
dc.identifier.apacitation Marais, L. J. (1984). <i>A critique of aspects of Louis Althusser's epistemology as employed by Manuel Castells</i>. (Thesis). University of Cape Town ,Faculty of Humanities ,Department of Sociology. Retrieved from http://hdl.handle.net/11427/15791 en_ZA
dc.identifier.chicagocitation Marais, Linda Jean. <i>"A critique of aspects of Louis Althusser's epistemology as employed by Manuel Castells."</i> Thesis., University of Cape Town ,Faculty of Humanities ,Department of Sociology, 1984. http://hdl.handle.net/11427/15791 en_ZA
dc.identifier.vancouvercitation Marais LJ. A critique of aspects of Louis Althusser's epistemology as employed by Manuel Castells. [Thesis]. University of Cape Town ,Faculty of Humanities ,Department of Sociology, 1984 [cited yyyy month dd]. Available from: http://hdl.handle.net/11427/15791 en_ZA
dc.identifier.ris TY - Thesis / Dissertation AU - Marais, Linda Jean AB - This thesis is an assessment of Castells' claim to have used Althusserian epistemology both as a theoretical basis for a critique of empiricist urban sociology, and in the establishment of a Marxist scientific alternative. To this end, Castells employed the Althusserian conception of the social totality, which was characterized by a complex structured unity of relatively autonomous instances with their own laws of development, This was intended to establish the last-instance determination by the economy, and to avoid the empiricist portrayal of the relationship between base and superstructure as one of essence and phenomena, According to Althusser, theory, like the other relatively autonomous practices, has its own specific raw material, labour and product, and was thus separate from and irreducible to any of the other practices. Each chapter of this thesis outlines an aspect of Althusser's work that can explicitly or implicitly be identified in Castells' writings. The critical responses to Althusserianism are then examined in order to disclose the unresolved and contradictory elements of his position, and the extent to which these have led to problems in Castells' work, More importantly, it is argued that Castells' theoretical allegiance to Althusser is deliberately inconsistent: he has significantly altered every controversial tenet of the latter, while neglecting to acknowledge that these changes are in fact distortions which directly oppose the character of Althusserianism, Castells wavers between contradictory epistemologies, and this results in his analyses being stranded between Althusserian theoreticism and empiricism. It is my contention that Castells wished to use the ready-made Althusserian system without falling prey to its unpalatable implications, especially Althusser's conclusion that Marxism is a science that produces ideology for the masses, who are never able to achieve a genuine cognitive appropriation of reality, and are thus unable to participate in the development of theory. This reduction of individual consciousness to ideology undermined the significance of class consciousness and political practice, which are commonly regarded as the fundamental principles of revolutionary Marxist practice. DA - 1984 DB - OpenUCT DP - University of Cape Town LK - https://open.uct.ac.za PB - University of Cape Town PY - 1984 T1 - A critique of aspects of Louis Althusser's epistemology as employed by Manuel Castells TI - A critique of aspects of Louis Althusser's epistemology as employed by Manuel Castells UR - http://hdl.handle.net/11427/15791 ER - en_ZA


Files in this item

This item appears in the following Collection(s)

Show simple item record