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Repressive State Apparatus


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(RSA)

French Marxist philosopher Louis Althusser's concept for what is known in contemporary political discourse as ‘hard power’, i.e. a form of power that operates by means of violence. It is usually accompanied by what Althusser termed the Ideological State Apparatus, which is a ‘soft power’ concept. The Repressive State Apparatus consists of the army, the police, the judiciary, and the prison system. It operates primarily by means of mental and physical coercion and violence (latent and actual).

Further Reading:

L. Althusser Lenin and Philosophy (1971).

Subjects: Literary Theory and Cultural Studies.


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