False Consciousness & Discourse

Jukka Laari jlaari at tukki.jyu.fi
Sun Jun 18 13:09:55 MDT 1995


I forgot from previous posting one thing:

"Mapping Ideology", ed. by Slavoj Zizek (Verso 1994) is quite good reader
concerning theory of ideology. SZ has combined some classic texts and
more contemporary discussion, and his Introduction is quite nice and
informative - it works as an introduction to zizekism, too.

Classics are Adorno, Althusser, Lacan and Pecheux - you see that it's a
question of more recent discussion than Marx and Lukacs...

Contemporary discussion includes Abercrombie & al. versus Therborn
discussion (from early eighties), Terry Eagleton, Fredric Jameson and
Richard Rorty.

Besides there are some historically oriented essays by Michele Barrett,
Seyla Benhabib and Peter Dews, and an interview (discussion of Pierre
Bourdieu and Terry Eagleton recorded live at the Institute of
Contemporary Art, London, 1991.)

Many of the essays have been appeared for the first time in New Left
Review.

Book is closed by Zizek's "How Did Marx Invent the Symptom?" (first
chapter from his "Sublime Object of Ideology").

As a whole, Mapping documents pretty well the historical progression of
the concept of ideology. Zizek's point is that ideology doesn't concern
anymore representation ('epistemological problematics'), but rather the
structuration of the social ('ontological problematics'): social is
(always?) structured so that it hides the fundamental antagonism at the
bottom of the social. For example, in capitalism class struggle marks
that basic antagonism.

On the other hand, Zizek makes three-fold distinction pertaining to the
concept of ideology, on the level of the essays in the book, too: (1)
"ideology as a doctrine, a composite of ideas, beliefs, concepts, etc,
destined to convince us of its 'truth', yet actually serving some
unavowed particular power interest"; (2) "material existence of ideology
in ideological practices, rituals and institutions"; (3) "disintegration,
self-limitation and self-dispersal of the notion of ideology. Ideology is
no longer conceived as a homogeneous mechanism that guarantees social
reproduction," rather it is conceived as spontaneous process in the heart
of the social.

It's a question of logical distinction in a sense that analysis and
critique has to be continued in all of the dimensions mentioned.

Yours, Jukka Laari


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