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Home :: Archive :: 1996 :: November ::
Re: Politics and Interpretation
Shakespeare Electronic Conference, SHK 7.0846.  Monday, 18 November 1996.

(1)     From:   Surajit A. Bose <
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        Date:   Friday, 15 Nov 1996 23:25:55 -0500
        Subj:   Re: SHK 7.0842 Re: Politics and Interpretation

(2)     From:   Paul Hawkins <
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        Date:   Saturday, 16 Nov 1996 22:45:18 -0500 (EST)
        Subj:   Re: SHK 7.0842 Re: Politics and Interpretation

(3)     From:   Andrew Walker White <
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        Date:   Saturday, 16 Nov 1996 02:30:04 -0500 (EST)
        Subj:   Marxists Vs. the Globe

(4)     From:   David Schalkwyk <
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        Date:   Monday, 18 Nov 1996 09:54:56 SAST-2
        Subj:   Re: SHK 7.0842  Re: Politics and Interpretation


(1)----------------------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Surajit A. Bose <
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Date:           Friday, 15 Nov 1996 23:25:55 -0500
Subject: 7.0842 Re: Politics and Interpretation
Comment:        Re: SHK 7.0842 Re: Politics and Interpretation

David Schalkwyk and Bill G. write:

>>Incidentally, there has been a lot of argument about whether everything is
>>ideological, but as far as I know there is hardly any agreement, even within
>>Marxism, about the concept of ideology itself.Offering a definition won't help
>>here, because the concept is the product of complex and often antagonistic
>>theories.  Unlike my impression of my mother's face....
>
>I think David is correct about the concept of ideology being contested, and
>that is precisely why I think definitions are in order.  Are we all talking
>about an elephant, or is ideology another beast?  Tom Bishop's concept of
>ideology may be quite different from Gabriel Egan's.

When self-professed Marxists (are there any other kind?) discuss ideology, the
definition they're usually invoking is Althusser's: see "Ideology and
Ideological State Apparatii" in *"Lenin and Philosophy" and Other Essays.*
Surely Bill Godshalk knows this, and as usual he's just being the resident
Socrates. Or jesting Pilate, I'm not sure which.  (But hey, whichever it is, he
keeps us honest.)

(2)----------------------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Paul Hawkins <
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Date:           Saturday, 16 Nov 1996 22:45:18 -0500 (EST)
Subject: 7.0842 Re: Politics and Interpretation
Comment:        Re: SHK 7.0842 Re: Politics and Interpretation

Bill Godshalk asks again for clarification of the concept of ideology. Further,
Peter Railton asks the following question in his entry on ideology in the
*Oxford Companion to Philosophy*:  "Is there a credible theory of the social
psychological mechanisms by which social interests or symbolic needs shape
individuals' beliefs and values in the unacknowledged ways that are presupposed
when ideologies are claimed to have a functional role?"

(3)----------------------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Andrew Walker White <
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Date:           Saturday, 16 Nov 1996 02:30:04 -0500 (EST)
Subject:        Marxists Vs. the Globe

While we're on this thread, I was wondering what others might think of a story
I picked up in London about the new Globe.  It seems that a large percentage of
the money for construction came about as a result of a lawsuit Wanamaker & Co.
had to file against the city council in Southwark.  Seems the council, Marxists
in the majority, attempted to pull the plug on the reconstruction on the
grounds that it was an elitist exercise (!!).  The lawsuit that resulted led to
a large settlement in the Globe's favor, and contributed greatly to the amazing
space we now have available for performers from around the world.

There seem to be people on this list who insist on political interpretations of
a decidedly leftist stripe; would it be irrelevant to point out that in
England, as well as in the Communist world (China comes to mind in particular),
popular forms of entertainment are rejected out of hand, branded "elitist" and
persecuted despite the facts?

Andy White
Urbana, IL

(4)----------------------------------------------------------------------------
From:           David Schalkwyk <
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Date:           Monday, 18 Nov 1996 09:54:56 SAST-2
Subject: 7.0842  Re: Politics and Interpretation
Comment:        Re: SHK 7.0842  Re: Politics and Interpretation

I agree with Bill that some people may think that the impression of one's
mother's face may be the product of complex theories, and they may well be
right.  I'm not so sure that it helps to assume that this is the same kind of
theory, or the same concept of theory, that produces the concept of ideology.
The problem of the debate about politics, theory, ideology is the tendency to
subsume everything under a single, overarching, concept without discrimination.
 What I value about Wittgenstein is his discrimination between concepts,
especially when differences between concepts are masked by the singularity of
the same signifier: he shows us to be attentive to different concepts of
experience, seeing, politics, ideology.

Saussurean linguistics works in the opposite way, assuming (wrongly) that there
is one (and only one) signified (concept) for each signifier.  So, because we
are all now honorary members of the Saussure club, we have endless and
pointless debates about whether everything is ideology or politics or sex or
language, or whatever.

"When we say:`Every word in the language signifies something' we have so far
said *nothing whatsoever*; unless we have explained exactly *what* distinction
we wish to make" (_PI_, para. 13).

David Schalkwyk
 

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