INTRODUCTION The Spectre of Ideology

Slavoj Žižek


I Critique of Ideology, today?

By way of a simple reflection on how the horizon of historical imagination is subjected to change, we find ourselves in medias res, compelled to accept the unrelenting pertinence of the notion of ideology. Up to a decade or two ago, the system production-nature (man's productive-exploitative relationship with nature and its resources) was perceived as a constant, whereas everybody was busy imagining different forms of the social organization of production and commerce (Fascism or Communism as alternatives to liberal capitalism); today, as Fredric Jameson perspicaciously remarked, nobody seriously considers possible alternatives to capitalism any longer, whereas popular imagination is persecuted by the visions of the forthcoming 'breakdown of nature', of the stoppage of all life on earth -- it seems easier to imagine the 'end of the world' than a far more modest change in the mode of production, as if liberal capitalism is the 'real' that will somehow survive even under conditions of a global ecological catastrophe . . . . One can thus categorically assert the existence of ideology qua generative matrix that regulates the relationship between visible and non-visible, between imaginable and nonimaginable, as well as the changes in this relationship.

This matrix can be easily discerned in the dialectics of 'old' and 'new', when an event that announces a wholly new dimension or epoch is (mis)perceived as the continuation of or return to the past, or -- the opposite case -- when an event that is entirely inscribed in the logic of the existing order is (mis)perceived as a radical rupture. The supreme example of the latter, of course, is provided by those critics of Marxism who (mis)perceive our late-capitalist society as a new social formation

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Mapping Ideology
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page iii
  • Contents v
  • Introduction: The Spectre of Ideology 1
  • Notes 30
  • 1: Messages in a Bottle 34
  • 2: Adorno, Post-Structuralism and the Critique of Identity 46
  • Notes 64
  • 3: The Critique of Instrumental Reason 66
  • Notes 88
  • 4: The Mirror-phase as Formative of the Function of the I 93
  • Notes 99
  • 5: Ideology and Ideological State Apparatuses (Notes towards an Investigation) 100
  • Notes 138
  • 6: The Mechanism of Ideological (Mis)recognition 141
  • Notes 150
  • 7: Determinacy and Indeterminacy in the Theory of Ideology 152
  • Notes 165
  • 8: The New Questions of Subjectivity 167
  • Notes 178
  • 9: Ideology and its Vicissitudes in Western Marxism 179
  • Notes 224
  • 10: Feminism, Ideology, and Deconstruction: A Pragmatist View 227
  • Notes 233
  • 11: Ideology, Politics, Hegemony 235
  • Notes 262
  • 12: Doxa and Common Life: An Interview 265
  • Note 277
  • 13: Postmodernism and the Market 278
  • Notes 295
  • 14: How Did Marx Invent the Symptom? 296
  • Notes 331
  • List of Sources 332
  • Index 333
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