Althusser essays on ideology

Dear Pamela,As a Brit, it’s nice to see someone from ‘over the pond’ who’s got most of the information about Afternoon Tea correct for a change: I now live in Vinci, Italy (yes where Leonardo was born), and now offer afternoon tea to Italians in our home dining would take you to task on one item in your article,(there’s always a critic!) and that is about Cream Tea in which you say: “Cream Tea — A simple tea service consisting of scones, clotted cream, marmalade or lemon curd and tea.” Cream Tea traditionally consists of scones served with clotted cream and strawberry said that if people prefer to have their scones (and it’s pronounced ‘skons’ as far as I’m concerned),with an alternative, I have no problem with that, it’s a free world (supposedly)!For example I sometimes fill my Victoria Sponge with lemon curd instead of the traditional raspberry jam and fresh raspberries both of which balance well with a nice cup of sweet Luck with the book!

The social theory of Critique is a far cry from Being and Nothingness , which had asserted that social groups were mere psychological projections ( Being and Nothingness, ). Critique introduces a new technical concept, that of “mediating third parties,” to explain the nature of groups above and beyond I-thou relations (pp. 100-9). Mediating third parties are members of groups who temporarily act as external threats (for example, when giving orders) but who subsequently re-enter the group ( Critique, ). The concept of the mediating third party allows Sartre to extend his theory of interpersonal recognition beyond the fictionalized, abstract encounter between self and other, and better explain the fundamentals of group solidarity.

According to Žižek, like and after Althusser, ideologies are thus political discourses whose primary function is not to make correct theoretical statements about political reality (as Marx’s “false consciousness” model implies), but to orient subjects’ lived relations to and within this reality. If a political ideology’s descriptive propositions turn out to be true (for example: “capitalism exploits the workers,” “Saddam was a dictator,” “the Spanish are the national enemy,” and so forth), this does not in any way reduce their ideological character, in Žižek’s estimation. This is because this character concerns the political issue of how subjects’ belief in these propositions, instead of those of opponents, positions subjects on the leading political issues of the day. For Žižek, political speech is primarily about securing a lived sense of unity or community between subjects, something like what Kant called  sensus communis or Rousseau the general will. If political propositions seemingly do describe things in the world, Žižek’s position is that we nevertheless need always to understand them as Marx understood the exchange value of commodities—as “a relation between people being concealed behind a relation between things.” Or again: just as Kant thought that the proposition “this is beautiful” really expresses a subject’s reflective sense of commonality with all other subjects capable of being similarly affected by the object, so Žižek argues that propositions like “Go Spain!” or “the King will never stop working to secure our future” are what Kant called reflective judgments, which tell us as much or more about the subject’s lived relation to political reality as about this reality itself.

Althusser essays on ideology

althusser essays on ideology


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