Art, education and the actuality of revolution: Althusser’s aesthetic materialism

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This article contributes to research on materialism, art and education by introducing the aesthetic, political and pedagogical theories of Louis Althusser. It begins by situating the argument within the contemporary conjuncture of the global class struggle, particularly in the West, which is defined by an ideological break with the Marxist tradition in which the actuality of revolution is denied. Such a conjuncture demands not only scientific critique and persuasion but also, more importantly, an aesthetic experience in the possibility of a revolutionary transformation of society. Analysing Althusser’s writings on aesthetics and politics and applying this analysis to Althusser’s own writing, it develops a theory of an aesthetic pedagogical encounter through which we can experience the actuality of revolution and the materiality of thought itself.

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