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Marx, discourse theory and political analysis: negotiating an ambiguous legacy

Howarth, DR (2018) 'Marx, discourse theory and political analysis: negotiating an ambiguous legacy.' Critical Discourse Studies. ISSN 1740-5904

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Abstract

This article argues that ‘post-Marxist’ or ‘poststructuralist discourse theory’ represents a complex deconstruction of the Marxist tradition of social and political theory. Focussing on three ontological positions in Marx’s texts – the ontologies of human alienation, praxis, and production – the article shows how this approach repeats and transforms the rich tradition of Marxist thinking so as to elaborate a novel approach to social and political analysis. This claim is built around the idea that discourse is best conceptualized as an ‘articulatory practice’, whose elements are both linguistic and non-linguistic in character, and whose products are finite relational orders, including social institutions and economic processes. The result is (1) a shift away from economic determinism and class reductionism to a relational account of social and political forms; (2) the development of an anti-essentialist and anti-reductionist account of political identities, which emerge in a dialectical tension with incomplete processes of identification, and (3) a particular understanding of the subject and agency in political theory, which grounds a different account of political practices. The article also (4) sets out the methodological implications of post-Marxist discourse theory, which is focussed on the articulation of different logics of critical explanation, before (5) exploring the role of critique and normativity in this approach, which are conceptualized as continuous, immanent and complex.

Item Type: Article
Uncontrolled Keywords: Discourse, post-Marxism, articulatory practices, subjectivity, political identities, logics of critical explanation
Subjects: J Political Science > JA Political science (General)
Divisions: Faculty of Social Sciences > Government, Department of
Depositing User: Elements
Date Deposited: 09 Apr 2018 14:30
Last Modified: 09 Apr 2018 14:30
URI: http://repository.essex.ac.uk/id/eprint/21795

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