Mao’s concept of “people”/“masses” has entered Western theoretical production as the “China Question of Western Theory.” This article argues that it is necessary to rethink Althusser’s conception of “people”/“masses” from a Maoist-Machiavellian perspective. The factual overlapping of Althusser’s Maoist heyday and his increased interest in Machiavelli makes it necessary to conduct a Maoism-Machiavellianism cross-reading of Althusser’s theoretical works, although Althusser’s Maoism exceeds his Machiavellianism on some occasions. Such an overlapping resulted in Althusser’s reconfiguration of a notion of “people”/“masses” that is conjunctural, non-deterministic and non-humanist, which led to his theses of the New Prince/Principality, the supremacy of class struggle, masses-make-history, and eventually, helped him to conceive a non-linear, non-historicist vision of social formations, namely, the theory of the encounter.
"Althusser’s Maoism-Machiavellianism and the Maoist “People”/“Masses”as a China Question of Western Theory."
CLCWeb: Comparative Literature and Culture
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