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Tragedy and farce, attending 'violently' to the discipline of the conjuncture

Beginning with justifying the focus on history as a core part of any analysis of society - this section details how the ‘science’ of social sciences should be viewed/constructed. Further, discussion will shift toward a critique of the Althusserian view of Marx’s method and the notion of an ahistorical and non-ideological ‘true’ Marxist science. The key issue is that Althusser’s ahistorical Marxism fundamentally weakens the Marxist sciences ability to enact social change and develop a historically significant project. This in part is why the left (at least academically) is unable to develop a tangible counter-hegemonic project. Following this I acknowledge the importance of some of the core concepts developed by Althusser (the Problematic, overdetermination, contradiction etc.) Shifting from here into Hall’s analysis of the 1857 introduction to the Grundrisse, a view of Marx’s methodology which I feel is more in line with my intended project will be outlined. This is a historical reading of Marx and cements the importance of history as a tool to understand and analyse the mechanisms of society as it plays out within the long range unfolding of capitalism. Hall’s development from here of a detailed methodology for conjunctural analysis, alongside defining what is meant by conjuncture, introduces a topic important to the following chapters, Thatcherism and the birth of neoliberalism. Following Halls analysis, a reading of Marx’s Eighteenth Brumaire of Louis Bonaparte is discussed as an exemplar of a historical conjunctural analysis which can still offer key insights into the emerging conjunctural moments of the present, despite the temporal difference from the events of the text. Finally, the lessons of the Eighteenth Brumaire are applied to the present moment of conjunctural crisis in the rise of Trump and his specific brand of Bonapartism. The key comparisons and similarities are discussed with a view to using the example as a springboard for investigating the terrain so as to better understand what is required for a coherent counter-hegemonic movement on the Left.
Type of thesis
Smith, T. (2019). Tragedy and farce, attending ‘violently’ to the discipline of the conjuncture (Thesis, Master of Social Sciences (MSocSc)). The University of Waikato, Hamilton, New Zealand. Retrieved from https://hdl.handle.net/10289/12861
The University of Waikato
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