Concept and Form is a two-volume monument to the work of the philosophy journal the Cahiers pour l’Analyse (1966–69), the most ambitious and radical collective project to emerge from French structuralism. Inspired by their teachers Louis Althusser and Jacques Lacan, the editors of the Cahiers sought to sever philosophy from the interpretation of given meanings or experiences, focusing instead on the mechanisms that structure specific configurations of discourse, from the psychological and ideological to the literary, scientific, and political. Adequate analysis of the operations at work in these configurations, they argue, helps prepare the way for their revolutionary transformation.
Volume One of Concept and Form translates some of the most important theoretical texts from the Cahiers pour l’Analyse; this second volume collects newly commissioned essays on the journal, together with recent interviews with people who were either members of its editorial board or associated with its broader theoretical project. It aims to help reconstruct the intellectual context of the Cahiers, and to assess its contemporary theoretical legacy. Prefaced by an overview of the project’s rigorous investment in science and conceptual analysis, the volume considers in particular the Cahiers’ distinctive effort to link the apparently incommensurable categories of ‘structure’ and ‘subject’, so as to prepare for a new synthesis of Marxism and psychoanalysis.Contributors include Alain Badiou, Étienne Balibar, Edward Baring, Jacques Bouveresse, Yves Duroux, Alain Grosrichard, Peter Hallward, Adrian Johnston, Patrice Maniglier, Tracy McNulty, Jean-Claude Milner, Knox Peden, Jacques Rancière, François Regnault, and Slavoj Žižek.
In a new article for the Guardian, political theorist Peter Hallward traces the genesis and continuing success of the anti-austerity student demonstrations in Quebec, urging organizers worldwide to take up the same model.
Hallward attributes the rapid growth of the demonstrations to the students' ability not only to articulate an immediate aim--stopping tuition hikes--but also to situate that aim within a larger pushback against heightening neoliberal attacks on public programs. CLASSE, the radical student coalition spearheading the protests, has ballooned in numbers to a membership of over 100,000, and now claims to represent 70% of striking students. CLASSE has called for the unconditional abolition of tuition fees, to be phased out over several years and compensated by a bank tax, at a time of record bank profits.
The hardline roots of the student protests have ensured the creation of a "practical, militant community of interest" that has organized the single biggest act of civil disobedience that Canada has ever seen. The result of months of careful preparation and hundreds of general assemblies, these massive student strikes have become too strong to contain, showing signs of radiating out to other parts of Canada--and, Hallward hopes, the rest of the world. "After a couple memorable springs," he concludes, "it's time to prepare for a momentous autumn."
Visit the Guardian to read the article in full.