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Home :: Archive :: 1997 :: January ::
Re: Ideology Once Again
Shakespeare Electronic Conference, SHK 8.0057.  Wednesday, 15 January 1997.

(1)     From:   W. L. Godshalk <
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        Date:   Tuesday, 14 Jan 1997 10:29:51 -0500
        Subj:   Re: SHK 8.0049:  Ideology

(2)     From:   Jurgen Pieters <
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        Date:   Wednesday, 15 Jan 1997 08:23:44 +0100
        Subj:   Re: SHK 8.0049 Re: Ideology Once Again


(1)----------------------------------------------------------------------------
From:           W. L. Godshalk <
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Date:           Tuesday, 14 Jan 1997 10:29:51 -0500
Subject: 8.0049:  Ideology
Comment:        Re: SHK 8.0049:  Ideology

Gabriel Egan writes to me:

"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."

And I think Gabriel has missed my point.  I agree with him.  The distinction
between "all cultural practices" and "ideology" is NOT <italic>innately
</italic>meaningful. Gabriel <italic>interprets </italic>the incident at
Frankfurt to be ideological: " 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."  But it is not transparent what this police action
has to do with "those superstructural manifestations of an economic base which
are ESSENTIAL to the continuance of that economic base" (i.e., Gabriel's
definition).  This definition is imposed, not innate to the action.

If nothing is <italic>innately</italic> meaningful, then ideed nothing is
innately meaningful, and that includes all human actions.
<italic>Ideology</italic> does not exist as some kind of trans-historical,
natural category.  Categories are human constructions--like women, fire, and
dangerous things. (I realize that this assertion is debatable, and that some
philosophers argue for the existence of "natural" categories.)

Yours,
Bill Godshalk

(2)----------------------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Jurgen Pieters <
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Date:           Wednesday, 15 Jan 1997 08:23:44 +0100
Subject: 8.0049 Re: Ideology Once Again
Comment:        Re: SHK 8.0049 Re: Ideology Once Again

In response to Norm Holland's comment on the necessity to take into account
psychological factors when studying ideology: Althusser's great essay on
Ideological State Apparatuses derives many of its insights from the work of
Lacan, as do all of Slavoj Zizek's marvelous books (I can really recommend For
they know not what they do and The Sublime Object of Ideology (both published
by Verso) to anyone interested in this thread.)

As to Gabriel Egans retortion of Bill Godshalk's message - that the difference
between cultural practices and ideological ones would reside in the fact that
the latter serve to sustain or reproduce the economic base - I would say that
'subversive' cultural practices are as ideological as 'sustaining ones, they
are only acted from within a different ideology. I think it would help here to
call those activities that Gabriel calls 'ideological' hegemonic (in Gramsci's
sense of the word) and those activities that I have termed - somewhat
unfortunately -'subversive' anti-hegemonic. (Further, Gabriel's remark opens
the difficult question on base-superstructure-relations: possibly an idea to
open a new discussion?)

Yours,
Jurgen Pieters
 

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