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History and EventFrom Marxism to Contemporary French Theory$
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Nathan Coombs

Print publication date: 2015

Print ISBN-13: 9780748698998

Published to Edinburgh Scholarship Online: May 2017

DOI: 10.3366/edinburgh/9780748698998.001.0001

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(p.1) Introduction
History and Event

Nathan Coombs

Edinburgh University Press

This chapter argues that the science of history has been misrepresented by postmodernists as a monolithic relic of modernity. If history and event are seen not as binary opposites but as a complementary pair, then both classical Marxism and a strand of French theory after Louis Althusser offer unique sciences of history. Although there is greater stress on historical discontinuity in post-Althusserian theory, this body of contemporary thought has commitments consistent with the Marxist understanding of revolution as a quantity to quality leap. The political stakes of Marxist and post-Althusserian theories are then introduced. The Hegelian influence on Marxism is presented as supporting political gradualism and technological determinism. Althusser is shown to set in motion a self-referential rationalism that shores up the authority of theorists. Chapter abstracts follow.

Keywords:   Philosophy, Politics, Marxism, Postmodernism, Events, Rationalism, Marx, Hegel, Althusser, Badiou

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