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For Althusser theoretical practice takes place entirely within the realm of thought working upon theoretical objects and never coming into direct contact with the real object that it aims to know. Althusser however opposed this trend proffering a "theoretical anti-humanism" and sympathising with the criticisms made by the Communist Party of China albeit cautiously and being careful not to identify himself with Maoism. Consequently Marx's Capital has greater explanatory power than does political economy because it provides both a model of the economy and a description of the structure and development of a whole society.
Althusser was a longtime member—although sometimes a strong critic—of the French Communist Party. He was born in Algeria and studied at the École Normale Supérieure in Paris where he eventually became Professor of Philosophy. His arguments and thesis were set against the threats that he saw attacking the theoretical foundations of Marxism.