Mapping Ideology

Mapping Ideology

Mapping Ideology

Mapping Ideology

Synopsis

Essays by Theodor W. Adorno, Peter Dews, Seyla Benhabib, Jacques Lacan, Louis Althusser, Michel Picheux, Nicholas Abercrombie, Stephen Hill, Bryan S. Turner, Goran Therborn, Terry Eagleton, Richard Rorty, Michele Barrett, Pierre Bourdieu, Fredric Jameson, Slavoj Zizek.

Excerpt

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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