Poulantzas, Nicos

(1936–1979)
   The most influential of Louis Althusser’s disciples, Nicos Poulantzas developed Althusser’s structuralist approach applying it in the elaboration of a Marxist theory of the state. He also contributed to Marxist analyses of classes and fascism. Born in Greece, Poulantzas attended the University of Athens, followed by further study at the University of Heidelberg and then the University of Paris, where he was a student of Althusser. He held various academic posts in Paris, and politically he was active in the Greek Democratic Alliance, the Greek Communist Party and Greek Communist Party of the Interior, and also served as an advisor on education for the new democratic government of Greece after the collapse of the military dictatorship.
   Poulantzas’ chief contribution to Marxism lies in the field of political theory, particularly the area of state theory. While accepting the Marxist starting point that the state served the interests of the ruling class, he sought to elaborate a more sophisticated theoretical framework on this basic insight. According to Poulantzas the capitalist state did not automatically represent the dominant classes’ economic interests, but rather represented their political interests. He also followed Althusser in distinguishing between the state’s repressive state apparatus and ideological state apparatus. The former consisting of the army, police, judiciary and so on did not, as some orthodox Marxists believed, capture the entire nature of the state. The latter, consisting of schools, the media, churches and so on, was a vital part of the state and crucial in maintaining the dominance of the ruling class. Poulantzas also followed Althusser in stressing the relative autonomy of the state, the fact that it was a complex and contradictory sphere that could not be connected to the economic base of society in a simple, linear deterministic way.
   He also contributed to the Marxist analysis of fascism arguing that earlier Marxist approaches, such as that of the Third International, had adopted an overly deterministic or economistic view of the relation between base and superstructure. The Third International view had been that fascism (or, as the Third International labeled it, “social fascism”) was a product of economic backwardness. Poulantzas discussed fascism with reference to the notion of the “exceptional capitalist state,” a form of state that includes Bonapartism and some military dictatorships. While the fascist states saw the continued “dictatorship of capital” they were also relatively autonomous. The military dictatorships of Spain, Portugal and Greece he also saw as “exceptional states” dependent on international capital and representing conflicting capitalist interests and classes.
   Poulantzas’ publications include Political Power and Social Classes (1968), Fascism and Dictatorship (1970), Classes in Contemporary Capitalism (1974), The Crisis of the Dictatorships (1975) and State, Power and Socialism (1978). He committed suicide in Paris in 1979.

Historical dictionary of Marxism. . 2014.

Look at other dictionaries:

  • Poulantzas, Nicos — (1936 79) Greek by origin, Poulantzas made his name in France, as (together with Louis Althusser) the leading representative of so called structuralist Marxism. The first book of his to gain significant attention was his Political Power and… …   Dictionary of sociology

  • Poulantzas — Poulantzas, Nicos …   Dictionary of sociology

  • Nicos Poulantzas — (Greek: Νῖκος Πουλαντζᾶς; 21 September 1936, Athens, Greece  – 3 October 1979, Paris, France) was a Greek Marxist political sociologist. In the 1970s, Poulantzas was known, along with Louis Althusser, as a leading …   Wikipedia

  • Poulantzas — Nicos Poulantzas (* 1936; † 1979, Suizid) war ein griechisch französischer Politologe und Philosoph, der hauptsächlich in Frankreich (als Dozent für Soziologie in Paris), vorübergehend auch an der Goethe Universität in Frankfurt, lehrte und… …   Deutsch Wikipedia

  • Nicos Poulantzas — Nacimiento …   Wikipedia Español

  • Nicos Poulantzas — (griech.: Νίκος Πουλαντζάς; * 21. September 1936 in Athen, Griechenland; † 3. Oktober 1979 in Paris, Frankreich) war ein griechisch französischer Politologe und Philosoph, der hauptsächlich in Frankreich (als Dozent für Soziologie in Paris),… …   Deutsch Wikipedia

  • Nicos Poulantzas — (ou Nikos) (en grec Νίκος Πουλαντζάς) (1936 1979), philosophe, politologue et sociologue français d origine grecque né en 1936 et mort en 1979. Il était marié avec Annie Leclerc. Penseur marxiste et militant du parti communiste grec de l… …   Wikipédia en Français

  • Nicos — may refer to: Nicos Anastasiades (born 1946), a Cypriot politician and leader of the right wing political party DISY Nicos Jiapouras (born 1970), a Cypriot International footballer Nicos Nicolaides, a Greek painter and writer Nicos Panayiotou… …   Wikipedia

  • Nikos Poulantzas — Nicos Poulantzas Nicos Poulantzas (ou Nikos) (en grec Νίκος Πουλαντζάς) (1936 1979), philosophe, politologue et sociologue français d origine grecque né en 1936 et mort en 1979. Il était marié avec Annie Leclerc. Penseur marxiste et militant du… …   Wikipédia en Français

  • Miliband-Poulantzas debate — The Miliband Poulantzas debate was a debate in Marxist theory between Ralph Miliband and Nicos Poulantzas concerning the nature of the state. See also Structure agency debate Categories: Marxist theoryDebates …   Wikipedia

Share the article and excerpts

Direct link
Do a right-click on the link above
and select “Copy Link”

We are using cookies for the best presentation of our site. Continuing to use this site, you agree with this.