Volume 29, Issue 2
  • ISSN 0924-1884
  • E-ISSN: 1569-9986
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Despite the centrality of translations in introducing Marxist ideas, we know little about the agendas that shaped them. This paper investigates how reviews of translated Marxist theoretical texts, issued between 1927 and 1934 by the Communist Party of Greece, were utilised in a struggle to appropriate Marxist discourse from its rivals. Drawing on Foucault’s procedures of discourse control, and calling attention to power struggles among forces with counterhegemonic ideas, the paper analyses the party’s rules and conditions under which it was legitimate for a translator to carry out a translation and for the translation to enter political discourse. It will be argued that political tensions triggered changes in reviewing practices and efforts to renew translation quality criteria. These tensions shaped contemporary debates on the correct interpretation of Marxism and helped advance the party’s position (a) by calling on readers to disregard earlier translations issued by political rivals; (b) by constructing its own translations as truth-objects; and by fashioning itself as the gatekeeper of Marxism. Studying translation reviews allows us to extend our understanding of the complexities of discourse formation, to trace the history of discourses, to document how knowledge can be a resource in power struggles, and to understand how power struggles can recast discursive practices.


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