Enjoying being in the library, so much so that I’ve yet to chase after a much-needed lunch.
If yr wondering, I’m wrestling with marxist theories of the state at present. My nighstand volume is currently the Profit Armed, vol. 1 of Isaac Deutscher’s legendary biography of Trotsky. But on the academic front, it’s Christine Buci-Glucksmann (Gramsci and the State), all Nicos Poulantzas, Milleband, and Bob Jessop’s the Capitalist State. Most of this work dates form the early seventies/eighties. Too, it’s a whole nook in the marxist/post-marxist universe of which I’d been unaware. Poulantzas in particular is definitely worthy of a look-see. A suicide and Eurocommunist, Poulantzas mounted a very thorough (but also pretty reverent) critique of Discipline and Punish-era Foucault. The insight I’ve gained – that these blokes might seem in hindsight to be two sides of an Althusserian coin – speaks to the weird joys that obtain when one encounters another lesser-known tributary of a canon, or another part of a semi-secret history. These readings are pushing my understanding of more taken-for-granted theorists like Althusser and Gramsci, and compelling me to question my presumptions about ’em and search for subtler doctrines.
All in all, this theoretical body echoes a central theme of my Neoliberalism comp: the continued centrality of the dialectic of forces/relations of production in the making and unmaking of political identity. So doing, it points me towards my 7,000th re-reading of Marx. And it reminds me that what’s “sacral” about my sacred texts is their ability to generate numerous re-readings/deconstructions rather than obedience. I’m sure these texts inform my ‘common sense’ presumptions about the universe, too, but I don’t wanna valorize that aspect. Cuz that shit’s, like, deleterious as all get-out.
Now I’ll go after that lunch. love!