Borrowing practices in modern revolution-making: from Marx’s The Eighteenth Brumaire of Louis Bonaparte to Rancière’s The Names of History

Authors

  • Matthias Pauwels North-West University

DOI:

https://doi.org/10.38140/aa.v55i2.7731

Keywords:

Karl Marx, Jacques Rancière, The Eighteenth Brumaire of Louis Bonaparte, performative politics

Abstract

Marx’s The Eighteenth Brumaire of Louis Bonaparte has served as a locus classicus for postmodern interpretations of Marxism’s contemporary legacy and relevancy due to its thematisation of the performative, imaginary, psychological and linguistic aspects of revolutionary politics. This work has been used to redeem and rethink Marxian revolutionary politics along postmodern lines beyond its orthodox varieties, positioning Marx as an important forerunner of contemporary “post-Marxian” radical philosophy. I here argue that Jacques Rancière should feature prominently in this scholarship on the so-called postmodern Marx. Although having first offered a scathing reading of The Eighteenth Brumaire in The Philosopher and His Poor (1983), I demonstrate how Rancière offers a more affirmative yet implicit interpretation in The Names of History (1992). By determining the nature, value and potential of Rancière’s poststructuralist reworking of central themes from The Eighteenth Brumaire, I aim to deepen understanding of radical politics’s performative and affective aspects.

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Published

2023-12-06