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The Politics of Truth: From Marx to Foucault

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The concept of ideology - traditionally one of Marxism's most persuasive ideas - has recently been subjected to devastating criticism. Michele Barrett shows that Marx's own writings offer a confusing array of possible approaches to 'ideology', which the classical Marxist tradition consolidated as 'mystification that serves class interests'. Barrett locates Gramsci and Althusser as key figures in the breakdown of the classical Marxist conception - Gramsci's work presaging the separation of class, politics and ideology found in Laclau and Mouffe, and Althusser's failing to deliver an adequate approach to subjectivity. Foucault - replacing Marxism's 'economics of untruth' with his own 'politics of truth' - is examined as an exemplar of post-structuralist critiques of ideology.

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'In this timely book, Michele Barrett dissects the uses and abuses of the concept of ideology with exemplary lucidity and precision. By doing so, she opens the way to a vital reassessment of subjectivity and humanist values, a critical move in the development of a post-Marxist politics.' Jeffrey Weeks, Bristol Polytechnic 'The Politics of Truth is an engaging and at times impassioned read, and Barrett is to be commended for her remarkable lucidity in communicating some pretty obscure formulations and debates.' Sociology 'Barrett's book is indispensable for all those interested not only in the current problems surrounding Marxism, but also in ways of dealing with them.' Women in Philosophy Newsletter 'An essential contribution to current debates in a field with central significance for the future of social theory.' Theory, Culture and Society

About the Author:

Michele Barrett is a leading writer in the field of sociology and has written many successful works including Women's Oppression Today, The Politics of Diversity and Ideology: A Cultural Production. She is Professor of Modern Literary and Cultural Theory at Queen Mary & Westfield College, London.

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