Shakespeare Electronic Conference, SHK 8.0020. Monday, 6 January 1997.
From: Gabriel Egan <
Date: Saturday, 04 Jan 1997 22:47:11 -0800
Subject: 8.0010 Ideology Once Again
Comment: Re: SHK 8.0010 Ideology Once Again
Bill Godshalk writes
>[Kavanagh] 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?
Everybody does the "practicing". Nobody get "worked into" the "project" but
rather everybody get "worked into" the "'lived relation'" to the "project" (as
Kavanagh wrote). As for who determines the boundaries of the sets "practicers"
and "worked upons", these are not determined by any person but rather by the
definition. If you find a collection of individuals in a given lived relation
to a given sociohistorical project, Kavanagh's definition tells you that the
practices, including systems of representation, which are indispensable to them
being in that given lived relation should be called ideology.
If I write that "speaking is a practice through which individuals are worked
into a 'lived relation' to a language", would you also have to ask who gets
worked into, who determines the practicer, and who determines the worked upon?
You might not like Kavanagh's definition, but its components are no more
complex than my sample definition of speaking. (I don't think I'd defend either
definition--but they are clear.)