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Home :: Archive :: 1997 :: January ::
Ideology Once Again
Shakespeare Electronic Conference, SHK 8.0010.  Friday, 3 January 1997.

From:           W. L. Godshalk <
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Date:           Thursday, 02 Jan 1997 21:16:41 -0500
Subject: 8.0002 Ideology Once Again
Comment:        Re: SHK 8.0002 Ideology Once Again

In our last discussion of "ideology," I suggested that we might wish to define
what we (individually) mean by the word. Today I ran across a discussion of the
word by James Kavanagh in <italic>Critical Terms for Literary Study</italic>,
2nd. edition, ed. Frank Lentricchia and Thomas McLaughlin (Chicago: U of
Chicago P, 1995).  Kavanagh begins: "'Ideology' . . . embodies all the problems
associated with the cultural complexity of language: it has a rich history,
during which it has taken on various, sometimes contradictory, meanings" (306).
 He gives a brief historical sketch, and concludes with this definition:
"'ideology' designates the indispensable practice--including the 'systems of
representation' that are its products and support--through which individuals of
different class, race, and sex are worked into a particular 'lived relation' to
a sociohistorical project."

To which I say, "Wow!"  But isn't there a little problem of agency here? Who
does the "practicing," and who gets "worked into" the "project"? And who
determines who shall be the practicer and who the worked upon?

Yours, Bill Godshalk

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