Cultural studies 2 lecture 3

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Information about Cultural studies 2 lecture 3

Published on November 13, 2007

Author: liamgr


Cultural studies 2:  Cultural studies 2 Lecture 3 Ideology/power/language PART 1 The Marxist perspective:  The Marxist perspective The phantoms formed in the human brain are also, necessarily, sublimates of their material life-process, which is empirically verifiable and bound to material premises. Morality, religion, metaphysics, all the rest of ideology and their corresponding forms of consciousness, thus no longer retain the semblance of independence. They have no history, no development; but men, developing their material production and their material intercourse, alter, along with this their real existence, their thinking and the products of their thinking. Life is not determined by consciousness, but consciousness by life. Marx/Engels The German Ideology (1845) The concept of ideology:  The concept of ideology Ideas, images patterns of signification stem from material activities and modes of social organisation Human beings produce both ways of life and ways of conceiving that life Mental production is dialectically related to material production In this dialectic however distortions occur (Marx’s ‘camera obscura’) Our ideas about the world are shaped by the mechanisms of ideological production and reproduction The ruling ideas tend to be the ideas of the ruling class Ideology in action:  Ideology in action Ruling ideas are nothing more than the ideal expression of dominant material relationships understood as ideas One goal of ideology is to legitimize hegemony and to obfuscate the violence and exploitation that often keep a disempowered group in its place This obfuscation necessarily leads to logical contradictions in the dominant ideology Ideological analysis seeks to uncover hegemonic distortions and show how the ruling class rules Ideology as ‘superstructure’:  Ideology as ‘superstructure’ Ideology often conceived of as the ‘icing on the cake’ of a given mode of production ‘Vulgar’ Marxism assumes that it is possible to ‘read’ the ideological structure off the economic base The situation is somewhat more complicated than this since ideological forms (such as religion, art and literature) seem to operate in an autonomous manner Louis Althusser seeks to investigate the dimensions of ideology The symbolic order:  The symbolic order Derived from the work of Jacques Lacan and a structuralist, linguistic- based re-reading of Freud The symbolic consists in the social world of linguistic communication, inter-subjective relations, knowledge of ideological conventions, and the acceptance of the law (the big ‘Other’) It is the means through which we come to understand and ‘know’ our reality Wilden (1984) ‘Any kind of information standing for information of another kind or level’ The Imaginary:  The Imaginary In the context of ideology we understand this as reflecting the distorting effects of linguistic or symbolic representation of the world We are always within ideology because of our reliance on language to establish our "reality"; Ideologies are differing representations of our social and imaginary "reality“ Has both positive and negative dimensions The ‘Real’:  The ‘Real’ What trips you up if you don’t pay attention to it Because of our dependence on language we can never know the real, only a series of representations of it Some ideologies, it can be argued, get closer to it than others The real is a ‘plenum’ which language only punctuates in different ways (e.g. the Sapir/Whorf hypothesis) Base & Superstructure:  Base & Superstructure Marxist distinction between ‘base’ and ‘superstructure’ Superstructure relies on the base, but has relative autonomy In the final analysis the economic determines all, but the final analysis rarely or never comes Althusser on ideology:  Althusser on ideology Ideology represents the imaginary relationship of individuals to their real conditions of existence Ideology has a material existence in action or institutions All ideology hails or interpellates individuals as subjects Ideology constitutes individuals as subjects Individuals are always-already subjects Most subjects accept their ideological constitution as "reality“, "nature“ or “common-sense” Ideological State Apparatuses (ISA):  Ideological State Apparatuses (ISA) Althusser distinguishes further between ‘State Apparatuses’ and ‘Ideological State Apparatuses’ SAs depend upon violence ISAs work by reproduction Types of ISA:  Types of ISA The religious ISA The education ISA The family ISA The legal ISA The political ISA (the political system, including the different parties) The trade union ISA The communications ISA (press, radio and television, etc.) The cultural ISA (Literature, the Arts, sports, etc.) The education ISA:  The education ISA …what the bourgeoisie has installed as its number-one, i.e. as its dominant ideological State apparatus, is the educational apparatus, which has in fact replaced in its functions the previously dominant ideological State apparatus, the Church…. no other ideological State apparatus has the obligatory (and not least, free) audience of the totality of the children in the capitalist social formation, eight hours a day for five or six days out of seven " Lenin & Philosophy (2001) Interpellation:  Interpellation Permits and facilitates the subject’s capacity to work ‘by themselves’ Involves the recognition of the self as subject to the Subject (of discourse) The mutual recognition of subjects and Subject, the subjects’ recognition of each other, and finally the subject’s recognition of himself The absolute guarantee that everything really is so, and that on condition that the subjects recognize what they are and behave accordingly, everything will be all right: Implications of Althusser :  Implications of Althusser Ideology is a lived material practice Ideology not simply restricted to the class dimension of existence The reproduction of subjects for ideological interpellation is without a ‘sense of failure’. It is inevitable Hegemony:  Hegemony The predominance of one social class over others (e.g. bourgeois hegemony) This represents not only political and economic control, but also the ability of the dominant class to project its own way of seeing the world so that those who are subordinated by it accept it as 'common sense' and 'natural'. Involves willing and active consent. Common sense, suggests Geoffrey Nowell-Smith, is 'the way a subordinate class lives its subordination' Gramsci & Hegemony:  Gramsci & Hegemony Gramsci emphasizes struggle. Common sense is not something rigid and immobile, but is continually transforming itself' (Gramsci, cited in Hall 1982: 73). Consent must be constantly won and rewon Social experience constantly reminds us of the disadvantages of subordination and thus poses a threat to the dominant class. Hegemony presupposes a constant contradiction between ideology and the social experience of the subordinate

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