Marxism-Leninism Transforms the Relationship between the Subject-Form of Discourse and Political Practice

  • Michel Pêcheux
Part of the Language, Discourse, Society book series (LDS)


To say that every science is always invested (surrounded and threatened) by ‘ideological matter’ is to recognise, I repeat, that the struggle between materialism and idealism is an endless struggle, such that an unassailable position is never reached which would of itself and for ever constitute a certificate and guarantee of materialism.1 In other words, the sciences can in no way make philosophy ‘redundant’ since every science presupposes in its concrete development the taking up of a position for objectivity.2 But this, true even for the ‘natural sciences’, is all the more true in the case of the (Marxist) science of history: like every other science, the (Marxist) science of history began with an ‘epistemological break’ constituting a point of no return. As Althusser says, following Lenin:

Something begins which will have no end, a ‘continuing break’ …, the beginning of a long period of work, as in every other science. And although the way ahead is open, it is difficult and sometimes even dramatic, marked by events — theoretical events (additions, rectifications, corrections) — which concern the scientific knowledge of a particular object: the conditions, the mechanisms and the forms of the class struggle. In simpler terms, the science of history (1976b, pp. 66f.).


State Apparatus Discursive Practice Historical Materialism Class Struggle Class Position 
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Copyright information

© Harbans Nagpal 1982

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  • Michel Pêcheux

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