By Terry Eagleton
'His suggestion is redneck, yours is doctrinal and mine is deliciously supple.'
Ideology hasn't ever been a lot in facts as a truth and so little understood as an idea because it is this present day. From the left it might probably usually be noticeable because the specific estate of ruling periods, and from the suitable as an arid and totalizing exception to their very own logic. For a few, the idea that now turns out too ubiquitous to be significant; for others, too cohesive for an international of limitless distinction. right here, in a ebook written for either novices to the subject and people already conversant in the talk, Terry Eagleton unravels the various various definitions of ideology, and explores the concept's tortuous historical past from the Enlightenment to postmodernism. Ideology offers lucid interpretations of the idea of key Marxist thinkers and of others equivalent to Schopenhauer, Nietzsche, Freud and some of the poststructuralists. in addition to clarifying a notoriously burdened subject, this new paintings by means of one in all our most crucial modern critics is a arguable political intervention into present theoretical debates. will probably be crucial interpreting for college students and lecturers of literature and politics.
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Extra resources for Ideology: An Introduction
In fact, the majority of people have a fairly sharp eye to eheir own rights and interests, and most people feel uncomfortable at ehe thought of belonging to a seriously unjust foon of life. Either, then, they must believe that these injustices are en route eo being amended, or that they are counterbalanced by greater benefits, or that they are inevitable, or that they are not really injustices at all. It is part of the function of a dominane ideology to inculcate such beliefs. It can do this either by falsifying social reality, suppressing and excluding certain unwelcome features of it, or suggesting that these features cannot be avoided.
Workers of the world, unite; you have nothing to lose but your chains' is in one sense obviously false; workers have a good deal to lose by political militancy, not least, in some cases, their lives. 'The West is a paper tiger', Mao's celebrated slogan, is dangerously misleading and triumphalist. Nor is it the case that all commitment to the dominant social order involves some sort of delusion. Someone might have a perfectly adequate understanding of the mechanisms of capitalist exploitation. but conclude that this kind of society, while unjust and oppressive, is on the whole prefer able to any likely alternative.
First, a disparity sets in between what society does and what it says; then this performative con tradiction is rationalized; next, the rationalization is made ironically self conscious; and finally this self-ironizing itself comes to serve ideological ends. The new kind of ideological subject is no hapless victim of false ' consciousness; but knows exactly what he is doing; it is just that he continues to do it even so. And to this extent he would seem conveniently insulated against 'ideology critique' of the traditional kind, which presumes that agents are not fully in possession of their own motivations.