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Home :: Archive :: 1997 :: January ::
Re: Ideology Once Again
Shakespeare Electronic Conference, SHK 8.0049.  Tuesday, 14 January 1997.

(1)     From:   Norm Holland <
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        Date:   Monday, 13 Jan 97 16:04:51 EST
        Subj:   Re: SHK 8.0044  Re: Ideology Once Again

(2)     From:   Gabriel Egan <
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        Date:   Monday, 13 Jan 97 23:57:48 GMT
        Subj:   Re: SHK 8.0044  Re: Ideology Once Again


(1)----------------------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Norm Holland <
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Date:           Monday, 13 Jan 97 16:04:51 EST
Subject: 8.0044  Re: Ideology Once Again
Comment:        Re: SHK 8.0044  Re: Ideology Once Again

Re ideology:  I'm surprised that no one in these discussions of ideology has
brought in psychology.  There is a lot of psychological literature about
cognitive dissonance, how beliefs are held, how applied to events, how language
is held in the brain, denial, and so on.  I think it is unfortunate to discuss
ideology entirely by means of philosophical definition and speculation when, as
a matter of intellectual history, these questions have moved from the
formulating domain of philosophy to the testing domain of psychology (as my old
philosophical mentor, Charles Stephenson,  might have put it).

--Best,
Norm Holland

(2)----------------------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Gabriel Egan <
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Date:           Monday, 13 Jan 97 23:57:48 GMT
Subject: 8.0044  Re: Ideology Once Again
Comment:        Re: SHK 8.0044  Re: Ideology Once Again

Bill Godshalk comments

> [T]o call human cultural practices <italic>ideology</italic>
> is to impose meaning and value on these innately meaningless
> and valueless practices.  They are basically random and
> without coherence.

You're missing the distinction between cultural practices and ideology. Culture
practices are ALL the superstructural manifestations of an economic base.
Ideology is only those superstructural manifestations of an economic base which
are ESSENTIAL to the continuance of that economic base.

> Last year, a young Indian Shakespeare scholar gave me
> her representation of what happened to her at the Frankfurt
> Airport.  A German policeman had been cruel to her--in an
> unspecified manner--because she is an Indian woman.  She
> told me that this story illustrates <italic>the dark
> currents of ideology</italic>.

One can't know why the policeman acted in this way on this occasion. One can
notice, however, that the nation state, a phenomenon of industrial capitalism,
must police its borders. Being nasty to foreigners is endemic to border police.
I tend to agree with this Indian woman in finding such abuse ideological and
not random.

I expect a flood of protests now from border police who are also SHAKSPERians
and who find that comment unacceptably general!

Dale Lyles wonders about the lack of

> playwrights from socialist modes of production who have transcended
> that boundary across the globe in the way that Shakespeare has?

Drama was mass media in early modern London, so perhaps we'd need to look for a
artist in another medium. Eisenstein, maybe?

More importantly, of course, the capitalist mode of production has spread
across the world. Socialist production has had nothing like the same success.
Am I right in thinking that the Russian writers most valued across the world
are those from the pre-revolutionary period of the late nineteenth century?
Early modern London can also be seen as a pre-revolutionary period. Could it be
that the writings produced just prior to major upheavals reflect the fractures
and self-contradictions in a collapsing ideology, and so these texts appear to
contain questions of great pertinence to those living under the succeeding
ideology?

Gabriel Egan
 

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