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Cultural Studies 2 Lecture 4

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Information about Cultural Studies 2 Lecture 4
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Published on November 13, 2007

Author: liamgr

Source: authorstream.com

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Cultural studies 2:  Cultural studies 2 Lecture 4 Volosinov Language & Ideology Volosinov Language & Ideology:  Volosinov Language & Ideology Ideology is materially linked to the context (i.e. the economic and political order) and operates as a form of coded constraint upon sign meaning within that context. A sign does not simply exist as a part of reality - it reflects and refracts another reality. Therefore it may distort that reality or be true to it, or perceive from a special point of view. Methodological principles:  Methodological principles Any object can become a sign standing for something else beside itself Ideology may not be divorced from the materiality of the sign by locating it simply in 'consciousness' The sign may not be divorced from the concrete forms of social intercourse Communication and the forms of communication cannot be divorced from the material basis. Language and social organisation:  Language and social organisation The constraining boundary of sign use and thus ideological creativity is the organisation of relationships within and between groups composing a society at any time. The nature of communication and the forms of communication which occur will differ according to the mode of production Different modes of production entail that not only do people orient themselves differently to acts of communication (pragmatics) but also what they communicate (semantics) and how they communicate (syntax) will differ. Language & social relations:  Language & social relations Furthermore, in a society like our own where the division of labour is highly complex, communication and the forms of communication differ between the groups which comprise it. Bernstein's (1971) observations on the differences between middle and working class speech & Spender's (1985) on gendered language indicate these differences The existence of highly specific technical languages in science, religion, and the legal system do so similarly The sign and the word:  The sign and the word Anything is capable of becoming a sign, of signifying, of meaning Outside of social intercourse, signs cannot exist, The existence of a sign presupposes some form of social organisation between word-users. Secondly, the same sign may signify many different things, exhibiting 'polysemanticity'. The only way of identifying what is meant or understood, which are not necessarily the same, is to locate its use in the context of the particular interaction in which it occurs. Signs are polysemantic both synchronically and diachronically. The word is the most ubiquitous and ‘purest’ form of sign Sign, ideology consciousness:  Sign, ideology consciousness There is no 'realm of ideology', if ideology is simply to mean ideas which exist independently of the thinkers of them. Ideology is materially expressed in and through the medium of signs. Similarly there is no 'realm of consciousness' upon which ideology as an external phenomenon can be said to operate. Both are functions of the human capacity to use signs and may not be understood independently of that. Ideology & Consciousness:  Ideology & Consciousness Ideology is not simply 'out there' waiting to interpellate subjects For Volosinov there is no essential division between ideology and consciousness. All ideological content is capable of being understood and taken into the psyche. Conversely, any outer ideological sign at some point in its development must pass through the psyche. Between psyche and ideology there exists, then, a continuous dialectical interplay: the psyche effaces itself, or is obliterated in the process of becoming ideology, and ideology effaces itself in the process of becoming the psyche. (1986, p39, emphasis in original), Official and Behavioural Ideology:  Official and Behavioural Ideology Volosinov distinguishes between two categories of ideology, 'official' and those termed 'unofficial' or behavioural. The former are the systems of sign organisation where meaning tends to be at its most crystallised or inflexible. They are the accretion of periods of struggle over meaning between the competing social groups within a society. Official ideologies embody what Marx has termed the ruling ideas of the ruling class or Nietzsche the 'word of the masters'. In their seeming 'neutrality' in relation to context, official ideologies give a specific refraction to signs Behavioural ideology:  Behavioural ideology Language is a domain of struggle over meaning between competing groups in society. In the realm of behavioural ideology where this struggle is at its most marked. Although the same language may be used by various classes and groups within a given society, the degree of correspondence between signs and experience differs for each group. In behavioural ideology signs may be adapted, distorted or invented to draw experience and the means of articulating it into workable correspondence with lived experience (e.g. Black NSE). Language & experience:  Language & experience Differently empowered groups undergo different experiences of the world Their modes of social organisation, their daily practices and as a result their languages stand at variance with the dominant meanings. These differences are marked most strongly and sensitively in behavioural ideologies which shape the course of all informal interactions and exchanges. Each group and individual struggles to make experience felt in words and give different accents, evaluations, and intonations to their meanings. Behavioural ideologies spring up to resist and challenge the hold which the dominant groups seek to place around meaning. Utterance and consciousness:  Utterance and consciousness Consciousness is primarily dialogical or polyglossic in nature. Both inner and outer speech consist of 'conversations', as opposed to 'monologues‘ These conversations are cross-cut by a multiplicity of social voices, accents and intonations reflecting the purview of the groups to which a person belongs and which s/he encounters in the course of daily life. In the absence of a real addressee, an addressee is presupposed in the person, of a normal representative of the social group to which the speaker belongs. The ‘I’ and the ‘We’ experience:  The ‘I’ and the ‘We’ experience The presupposition of an addressee is what gives experience its ideological form and content. The degree to which an experience is formulable in language is proportionate to the degree of its social orientation. The 'I-experience' and the 'We-experience' represent the two poles of this relationship Utterance and Subjective experience :  Utterance and Subjective experience A ‘we-experience’ is characterised by the stable integration of the experiential utterance with its social milieu. It corresponds with the official ideology of the society or the behavioural ideology of a sub-group. It is complex and differentiated and reflects the ability of the consciousness to locate its social roots. Conversely, I-experiences emerge where a social framing, an ideological context, and hence a presupposable addressee, do not exist to give the experience semiotic context or allow it social intelligibility. Here consciousness struggles to give meaning and expression to experience Language, ideology & the struggle for meaning:  Language, ideology & the struggle for meaning In Freudianism : A Marxist critique Volosinov describes what happens when an ‘I experience’ becomes detached from ideology It turns into a symptom Psychoanalysis ‘decodes the symptom’ and turns it back into a kind of ideological sign A final word:  A final word In the depths of behavioural ideology accumulate those contradictions which, once having reached as certain threshold, ultimately burst asunder the system of the official ideology. Volosinov (1976, p88)

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