Numéro 45 : Arts et Politiques

 Avril 2009

Numéro disponible en ligne sur le site du Cairn :

[Sommaire]   [Abstracts]    [Auteurs]

Alors que les pratiques artistiques semblent toujours plus aspirées par les contraintes de différents marchés (marché de l’art, marché éditorial, marché des loisirs), en quel sens l’art conserve-t-il une dimension politique ? Sous quelles formes les pratiques artistiques prennent-elles position par rapport aux mondes sociaux dont elles émergent ? Quelles sont donc les politiques de ces pratiques ? Les théories esthétiques inspirées par le marxisme, en interrogeant le rapport art/société dans l’horizon d’une politique conçue comme critique, émancipation et utopie offrent des réponses à ces questions.
Dans ce numéro traitant d’arts plastiques, de littérature, de théâtre et de cinéma, on trouvera quelques pistes, brèches, recherches actuelles, dans le large spectre des travaux contemporains qui réfléchissent les liens entre art et politique.




Coordonné par Jean Marc Lachaud et Olivier Neveux

Jean-Marc Lachaud et Olivier Neveux

Arts et révolution

Pierre Rusch

Esthétique et anthropologie. Approche de la dernière Esthétique de Georg Lukács

Carlos Nelson Coutinho

G. Lukács et la littérature du XXe siècle

Michaël Löwy

L’irréalisme critique

Pierre Macherey

Un exemple d’émancipation par l’art : le Galilée de Brecht

Terry Eagleton

Political Beckett ?

Marc Jimenez

En finir avec la fin de l’art

Teresa de Lauretis

Devenir inorganique


Marx en Mai 68

Frédérique Matonti

Marx entre communisme et structuralisme

Stéphane Legrand

Louis Althusser : Mai 1968 et les fluctuations de l’idéologie

Jean-Marc Lachaud

Du « Grand Refus » selon Herbert Marcuse

Jean-Christophe Angaut

La fin des avant-gardes : les Situationnistes et Mai 68



avec Judith Butler, traduit de l'anglais par Brigitte Marrec

Violence d'État, coalitions, sujets



• Marx, Critique du programme de Gotha, (M. Löwy)

• Robert Fineschi, Un nuovo Marx, Filologia e interpretazione dopo la nuova edizione storico-critica

(MEGA 2) (J. Bidet)

• Heinz Dieter Kittsteiner, Marx-Heidegger, Les philosophies gnostiques de l’histoire (V. Houillon)


• Mary Astell, Mary Astell et le féminisme en Angleterre au XVIIe siècle (J. Guilhaumou)

• Natalie Petiteau, Les Français et l’Empire (1799-1815) (J. Guilhaumou)

• Lars Lambrecht (dir.), Osteuropa in den Revolutionen von 1848 (J.-C. Angaut)

• Ellen Meiksins Wood, Citizens to Lords. A Social History of Western

Political Thought From Antiquity to the Middle Ages (L.-P. Lavallee)

• Karl Polanyi, Essais de Karl Polanyi (F. Gheller)

Société et politique

• Laurence Roulleau-Berger, Guo Yuhua, Li Peiling et Liu Shiding (dir.), La nouvelle sociologie chinoise(J. Guilhaumou)

• Bertrand Geay et Laurent Willemez (coord.), Pour une gauche de gauche (J. Bidet)

• Lars Brett hauer/Alex Gall as/John Kann ank ulam/Ingo Stützle (dir.),

Poulantzas lesen. Zur Aktualität marxistischer Staatstheorie (K. Lindner)

• Gianfranco La Grassa, Finanza e poteri (G. Petrosillo)


• Frédéric Thomas, Rimbaud et Marx : une rencontre surréaliste (J.-M. Lachaud)

Dominique Berthet, André Breton, l’éloge de la rencontre (J.-M. Lachaud)

Mai-juin 68 .......................................................................................................................................................................................................................................190

• Philippe Artières, Michelle Zancarini-Fournel (dir.), 68, une histoire

collective (1962-1981)

• Philippe Artières, 1968, années politiques

• Antoine Artous, Didier Epstajn et Patrick Silberstein (coord.), La France des

années 68

• Serge Audier , La pensée anti-68 : Essai sur une restauration intellectuelle

• Dominique Dammamme, Boris Gobille, Frédérique Matonti,

Bernard Pudal (dir.), Mai-juin 68

• Nicolas Daum, Mai 1968 raconté par des anonymes

• Christine Fauré, Mai 1968 en France ou la révolte du citoyen disparu

• Xavier Vigna, L’insubordination ouvrière dans les années 68 : essai d’histoire politique des usines

• Michelle Zancarini-Fournel, Le moment 68. Une histoire contestée

(D. Cohen, J. Guilhaumou, E. Renault)



Jean-Christophe Angaut, The End of the Avant-Gardes : May 68 and the Situationists

What emerges first and foremost from debord’s writings in 1968 is that the situationists’ initial reaction to the May “events” was to interpret them as the first example of a spontaneous general strike in the context of what he called “overdeveloped capitalism”. Debord’s position on this question is linked to his questioning of the status of the avant-gardes. at the time, Debord and those close to him sought both to conceptualise and to enact the end of the avant-gardes. And this included the Internationale Situationniste in its status as political, philosophical and artistic avant-garde. The article subsequently sets out to show that if the situationists did have any leverage on the events of May, it was insofar as they practised a maverick Marxism centred on the concept of alienation. This enabled them to conceptualise both the exploitation of the wage-earner and the condition of the consumer. Because they represent a comprehensive critique of capitalism and because, furthermore, they refuse to compromise on the revolutionary and worker dimension of the May-June 1968 moment, Debord’s writings of the period enable us to grasp what, in the strict sense, remains beyond any opportunistic recuperation in these events.


Judith Butler, State Violence, Coalitions, Subjects

After a consideration of the reception of her work in France (its academic, but above all its militant reception), Judith Butler assesses the political contribution of queer movements and minority struggles. She addresses the need for the left to reappropriate the forthright critique of the state and its violence and to examine the way minorities are produced. to do so, her analysis starts from the question of immigrant persons. She highlights the issues and the difficulties which are involved, if there is to be a productive critique of the state, the aim of which is to contest it. as part of a dynamic political perspective, she proposes the creation of coalitions. She outlines the main lines of such a coalition, its dynamics and singularities, its articulation with the subject, but also its limits. In conclusion, she examines the issue of revolution and her relation to Marxist thought, indicating the outlines of her current thinking.

Nelson Carlos Coutinho, Lukács and Twentieth Century Literature

Though he elaborated a robust system of Marxist aesthetics whose categories enabled him to formulate a brilliant analysis of the 19th century realist novel, Lukács proved unable to understand the literature of the 20th century. In fact he either ignored or regarded as “decadent” almost all the major representatives of the avant-garde, such as Proust and Kafka. This was not due to the intrinsic limitations of the aesthetic categories themselves. It was rather an effect of his “optimistic” vision of the historical period following after the 1917 revolution and the hypothesis of the development of socialism. This led him to regard as anti-realist the alleged “pessimism” of the avant-garde. towards the end of his life, Lukács did however adopt a more critical position towards “real socialism”. He thus moved towards a more positive understanding of the literature of his time.


Terry Eagelton, Political Beckett?

In september 1941, one of the twentieth century’s most apparently non-political artists secretly took up arms against fascism. Samuel Beckett, who with exquisite timing for a notorious pessimist was born on good Friday (and Friday the 13th) 1906, had been living in Paris since 1937, selfexiled from his native country in the manner of many an eminent irish writer. The Irish, unlike their erstwhile colonial proprietors, have always been a cosmopolitan nation, from the nomadic monks of the Middle ages to the corporate executives of the Celtic tiger. If the oppressiveness of colonial rule turned some of them into nationalists, it turned others into citizens of the world. Joyce, synge, Beckett and Thomas Macgreevy, men already caught between two or three cultures and languages, were to flourish in the rootless, polyglot, ambience of high-modernist europe, rather as half a century later their compatriots were to embrace the european union. It helped, in signing up to a linguistically self-conscious modernism, to stem from a nation in which language, as a political minefield, could never be taken for granted.


Marc Jimenez, To End the “End of Art” topos

While a scrupulous attention to the multiple dimensions of contemporary artistic creation remains indispensable, the predominantly optimistic vision which, a few years ago, sought to counter the strident contempt of the censors of “contemporary art” no longer constitutes the adequate response. Nor does it remain self-evident that the idea of an “iconoclastic”and “autophagic” art still encloses a kernel which is recalcitrant to any institutional or commodifying recuperation, or that it is is anything other than the symptom of a residual and stubborn idealism, devoid of any bearing on the current status, social, economic, economic and political, of contemporary art. True, there is still room for personal strategies and there are still some lingering possibilities for individual acts of micro-resistance to the dominant artistic networks. these can develop on the margins of the general commodity logic and its speculative excesses. However one has only to take a walk in the aisles of the numerous international art fairs to grasp the extent to which such forms of resistance are, indeed, marginal.


Jean-Marc Lachaud, Herbert Marcuse’s Idea of the “Great Refusal”

Herbert Marcuse is almost invariably cited in the numerous books and articles dealing with May 1968. without question, the philosophical and political positions which he defended resonate with the struggles and aspirations of a period both rebellious and utopian, in which anti-imperialist, anti-colonial, third-world and anti-capitalist struggles were mingled with new forms of social mobilisation, directed against whatever could hamper and compromise the possibility of living fully in the present. Marcuse notably addressed the question of alienation, affirming that, here and now, an other life is possible. while Marcuse, with the mixture of pessimism and optimism which animates him, does recognise that the path to emancipation remains a long one, he does not despair of the capacity of the “wretched of the earth” to refuse resignation and rebel against their fate.


Jean-Marc Lachaud, Olivier Neveux, The Arts and the Revolution. Some Theoretical and Practical Elements of the Overall Problematic

In the strict sense, there is no “Marxist aesthetics”. The writings of Marx and engels on the question, whatever their riches, are too disparate and fragmentary to amount to a system. What does however exist is a history of the links and articulations between art, creation, and the perspectives of emancipation, and in this history the writings of Marx and engels can legitimately claim a place. This history is neither linear nor homogenous. The purpose of the introduction is thus to address four major debates which resonated through the 20th century: about the avant-gardes, about realism, about militant art, about the utopian dimension of art. These debates, whose importance and influence is variable, mobilised artists and thinkers in the 20th century. They could either crystallise in a particular time and place or, on the contrary, they could span several decades. unresolved, these debates still remain, today, laden with productive contradictions.


Stéphane Legrand, Louis Althusser, May 968 and the Fluctuations of Ideolog y

By examining the various statements made by Louis Althusser of his position on the student movement of May 69, the article seeks to reveal the remarkably complex and theoretically apposite character of his assessment. The article thus goes against usual interpretations of this issue. in particular, it points to the interest of the concepts of revolt and of mass ideological revolution, which were introduced in his writing of the period. By demonstrating that althusser’s analysis of the function and status of ideology in the revolts of May validates the theses which he advanced in for Marx about the notion of overdetermination, the author’s intention is to assess the role played by this paradigmatic spectrum in the overall reconstruction of the problematic of ideology which Althusser was to formulate in the famous manuscript entitled On Reproduction. The principal interest of this manuscript is that, for the first time, it establishes a rigorously materialist conception of ideology and of the concrete mode of existence of ideas.

Michael Löwy, Critical Irrealism

There is much relevance in the concept of critical realism, but it tends to become exclusive: too often realism appears as the only acceptable form of art, and the only one having a critical edge towards the existing social reality. are there not many non-realist works of art which are valuable and contain a powerfull critique of the social order? In other words: does it not exist a category of artistic creations that could be defined as critical irrealism? This term obviously does not exist in any dictionary, but it is helpful in describing a vast area of the literary landscape which has been neglected.


Pierre Macherey, An Example of Emancipation through Art: Brecht’s Galileo

The challenge which Brecht set himself was to make theatre a means of emancipation, by placing it in the service of the revolution. His work dealing with the exemplary figure of galileo, which mobilised his energies between 1938 and his death in 1959, testifies to the succession of problems he came up against in his attempt to carry out this programme. For Brecht, the attempt to arrive at a scenic presentation of the complex relations between science and its social environment implied the endeavour to engage the audience in the formulation of a problem for which the theatrical performance eschewed the option of any ready-made solution. to do so could only be way of the representation of a model which was both attractive and repulsive, and by highlighting what was a fluctuating complex of contradictions. For Brecht, the status of art is thus to constitute an open-ended inquiry rather than the presentation, for propaganda purposes, of a set of cut-and dried ideas.

Frédérique Matonti, The Marx of Communism and the Marx of Structuralism

The article addresses the issue of the response within the French Communist Party to the structuralist and anti-humanist reading of Marx which Althusser formulated in the period leading up to May 1968. while structuralism was regarded by some as a marker of the avant-garde, to a number of communist intellectuals, and in particular those closest to the party leadership, it amounted to a “a philosophy of hopelessness”. The article thus examines the context in which Althusser was declared to be heterodox in the early months of 1966, in particular at the convention of philosophers held in Choisy and at the meeting of the Communist Party Central Committee in Argenteuil.

Pierre Rusch, Aesthetics and Anthropolog y : a Reading of Georg Lukács’s Late Aesthetics

It is a remarkable fact that until now Marxist aesthetics has scarcely integrated the anthropological perspective within its reflection on art. Just as its interest in the social dimension has generally led it to espouse what is basically a sociology of art, the scope of its historical comprehension has remained within the boundaries of a history of art. While Carl Einstein and Max Raphaël have indeed made vital contributions, it is Georg Lukács who, in his great Aesthetics of 1963, attempted a systematic integration of the anthropological dimension in his inquiry into the nature of art. The aim of the present article is to present and to assess the implications of this major project.



Jean-Christophe Angaut

est Maître de conférences de philosophie à l’Ecole Normale Supérieure Lettres et Sciences Humaines de Lyon. il a récemment publié « Le conflit Marx-Bakounine dans l’Internationale : une confrontation des pratiques politiques » (Actuel Marx, n° 41, 2007), « un Marx Feuerbachien ? » (in E. Renault, Lire les Manuscrits de 1844, PUF, 2008) et La philosophie et son dehors - Bakounine et la gauche hégélienne, Lyon, ENS-Editions, 2007.

Carlos Nelson Coutinho

est Professeur de Théorie Politique à l’Université Fédérale de Rio de Janeiro (Brésil). Il  est l’auteur de nombreux livres, parmi lesquels : Literatura e humanismo : Ensaios de crítica marxista (1967), Literatura e ideología en Brasil (1986), Lukács, Proust e Kafka. Literatura e sociedade no seculo XX (2005) et Il pensiero politico di Gramsci (Milan, unicopli, 2006).

Terry Eagleton

est Professeur de littérature anglaise à l’Université de Manchester (Grande- Bretagne). influencé par les écrits de Raymond Williams et de Louis Althusser et par la psychanalyse, il est l’auteur d’une quarantaine d’ouvrages, parmi lesquels : Marxism and Literary Criticism (1976), Walter Benjamin, or Towards a Revolutionary Criticism (1981), Literary Theory: an Introduction (1983) ; The Ideology of the aesthetic (1990), The Idea of Culture (2000), Sweet Violence: The Idea of the Tragic (2002), The Illusions of Postmodernism (1996), How to Read a Poem (2007). en français, sont disponibles : Critique et théories littéraires : une introduction (PUF, 1994) et Marx et la liberté (Le Seuil, 2000).

Marc Jimenez

Philosophe, est Professeur d’esthétique à l’Université de Paris 1 – Panthéon Sorbonne. il dirige par ailleurs le Laboratoire d’Esthétique Théorique et appliquée (ea 2478 / Université de Paris 1 – Panthéon-sorbonne). Il a notamment publié Adorno et la modernité (Klincksieck, 1984), Qu’est-ce que l’esthétique ? (Gallimard, 1997), L’esthétique contemporaine : tendances et enjeux (Klincksieck, 2004), La querelle de l’art contemporain (Gallimard, 2005). Il travaille actuellement (en collaboration avec Marc Géraud) à la traduction des Conférences sur l’art et la littérature d’August Wilhelm Schlegel (à paraître en 2009 chez Klincksieck-les Belles Lettres).

Jean-Marc Lachaud

Philosophe, auteur de plusieurs essais et articles sur les théories esthétiques et sur les démarches artistiques du XXe siècle, est Professeur des universités et enseigne l’esthétique au sein de l’UFR Arts de l’Université de Strasbourg. Il est également chercheur au sein du Laboratoire Approches Contemporaines de la Création et de la Réflexion Artistiques (ea 3402 / Université de Strasbourg) et chercheur associé au sein du Laboratoire d’Esthétique Théorique et Appliquée (ea 2478 / Université de Paris 1 – Panthéon-Sorbonne).

Teresa De Lauretis

 Professeure d’histoire de la conscience à l’Université de Californie, Santa Cruz (Etats-Unis). Elle est l’auteure de nombreux ouvrages et articles questionnant la sémio- tique, la psychanalyse, les théories féministes et queer, la littérature et la théorie du cinéma. Parmi ses ouvrages, écrits en anglais et en italien, signalons : Alice doesn´t: feminism, Semiotics, Cinema (1984), Feminist Studies /Critical Studies (1986), Technologies of Gender (1987), The Practice of Love: Lesbian Sexuality and Perverse desire (1994), Soggetti eccentrici (1999). Théorie queer et cultures populaires : de Foucault à Cronenberg (préfacé par Pascale Molinier et traduit par Marie-Hélène Bourcier) a été publié par les Editions La Dispute en 2007.

Stéphane Legrand

Ancien élève de l’Ens – LSH, agrégé et docteur en philosophie, co-anime le groupe de Recherches Matérialistes (CiePFC) et co-dirige la collection ChampContreChamp (éditions Metispresses). il est notamment l’auteur de « Le marxisme oublié de Foucault » (Actuel Marx, n° 36, 2004) et de Les normes chez Foucault, PUF, 2007.

Michael Löwy 

Sociologue. Brésilien d’origine, il vit à Paris depuis 1969. directeur de recherche (émérite) au Cnrs et enseignant à l’Ecole des Hautes Etudes en Sciences Sociales, il est l’auteur de dix-huit livres parus en vingt-neuf langues dont : Paysages de la vérité. Introduction à une sociologie critique de la connaissance (Anthropos, 1975), Walter Benjamin. Avertissement d’incendie. une lecture des thèses ‘ Sur le concept d’histoire’ (Presses Universitaires de France, 2001) et Franz Kafka, rêveur insoumis (stock, 2004).

Pierre Macherey

Philosophe, Professeur honoraire à l’université de Lille 3 et chercheur au sein de l’UMR 8163 Savoirs Textes Langage du Cnrs. Co-auteur de Lire le Capital (1965), il est l’auteur de nombreux articles et ouvrages, dont Pour une théorie de la production littéraire (1966), Hegel ou Spinoza (1979), A quoi pense la littérature ? (1990), Introduction à l’Ethique de Spinoza (1994-1998), Histoires de dinosaure - Faire de la philosophie – 1965 / 1997 (1999), Marx 1845 : Les « thèses » sur Feuerbach (traduction et commentaire, 2008).

Frédérique Matonti

Professeure de science politique à l’Université Paris 1 Panthéon-Sorbonne (CrPs/Cnrs). après avoir consacré sa thèse au PCF des années 1960 et 1970 (Intellectuels communistes. Une sociologie de l’obéissance politique. la nouvelle Critique, 1966-1980, La Découverte, 2005), elle s’est tournée vers l’histoire sociale des idées politiques. A l’occasion de la loi sur la parité, elle a participé à une enquête collective sur la professionnalisation politique des femmes (dirigée par Catherine Achin, Sexes, genre et politique, Economica, 2007). Enfin, elle a co-dirigé avec Dominique Damamme, Boris Gobille, Bernard Pudal, Mai-Juin 68 (Editions de l’Atelier, 2008).

Olivier Neveux

Maître de Conférences en Arts du Spectacle à l’Université de Strasbourg et enseignant à l’Ecole Nationale Supérieure des Arts et des Techniques du Théâtre (Ensatt), Section Ecriture. Il est notamment l’auteur de Théâtres en lutte. Le théâtre militant en France des années 1960 à aujourd’hui (La Découverte, 2007) et il a co-dirigé, avec Christian Biet, Une histoire du spectacle militant (1968-1981). Théâtre et cinéma (L’Entretemps, 2007).

Pierre Rusch

Auteur d’une thèse sur la dernière Esthétique de Georg Lukács (Ehess, à paraître chez Klincksieck). Il a également traduit de nombreux ouvrages dans le champ de la philosophie allemande du XIXe et du XXe siècle (notamment F. Nietzsche, G. Simmel, W. Benjamin, G. Lukács, H. Broch).