Symptomatic Reading

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The practice of reading described by Althusser in his attempt to demonstrate that the problematic of Marx is divorced by an epistemological break from that of the classical political economy of Adam Smith And David Ricardo. A symptomatic reading concentrates not on the obvious features of the text itself, but on the silences, gaps and contradictions that reveal its problematic. Symptomatic reading is held by Althusser to be analogous to the evenly suspended or poised attention with which a psychoanalyst listens to a patient's free associations.

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