Term Paper: Theory of Ideology

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Ideology and Utopia central concept that is expounded in this article is that ideology is a relative concept in the context of modern discourse and that no single ideology is considered as the "truth." In this view, ideological norms and value are considered as being constructed or determined and the concept of eternal or permanent values has become increasingly suspect. Therefore, the ontological question today is concerned with differentiating the truth or otherwise of the norms and values in any historical period. This is referred to as the understanding of " false consciousness" which is a form of consciousness that would stop or obstruct a deconstruction or interrogation of relative ideologies. This new mode of thinking therefore sees history, society and discourse as a dynamic and interrelated process that is not static but interdependent.

An example given of this process is the evaluation of ethical norms. An action is not ethical jut because it conforms to a certain set of norms and value at a certain time or historical period. The ethicality of any values or actions is dependent on the way that these norms and values intersect with and conform to the reality of the situation. Therefore, from this perspective, ideologies are standards and values that obstruct the actual understandings of realities. This also refers to the way that that people make use of romanticism and idealization to obscure or pervert their real relationship to the world. This is cited as an example of Ideological distortion.

The article goes onto apply this thinking to the concept of utopia. Utopias are in essence an ideological distortion of the present historical reality.

This also refers to the way that otherworldly or transcendent utopias and ideals were tolerated in, for example, Feudal societies, as long as they did not threaten the dominant social and political order. The article also explores the utopian dialectic with society and history - where the utopias that are created are an expression of those aspects that are lacking in that particular societal milieu. This in turn leads to " breaking the bonds" of the ideology of the society and the formation of a dialectic that results in new utopian visions.

2. Structure Habitus, Practices

This article explores the issue of relativism as opposed to objectivism. The relativist perception of society and history is that something is perceived or understood in term of the perceptions, ideologies and other aspects that are employed by the observer. This is a view that is necessarily opposed to that of positivist materialism. From this theoretical trajectory, the view or perception is that the objective word is constructed to a great extent, if not entirely, by the gaze or the viewpoint of the observer. This theoretical stance is opposed to formal idealism and suggests the construction of the world as a form of "habitual" practice.

This article also interrogates the view that things exist in themselves or outside of the group or the milieu in which they are constructed. The objectivist viewpoint is critiqued from a number of perspectives. On the other hand the article also points out the danger of slipping back into a purely subjectivist stance, which also does not provide a clear picture of the world. The article also suggests that many theorists and theories have failed to interrogate the way that the social world is constructed radically enough to reveal the full extent of the objectivist stance. This again refers to the" habitus" that works as unheard or unspoken ideology.

The article goes on to emphasize the complexity of the process of objectification and habitual re-presentation. The author states that it is erroneous, to see, for example, the progression of an artist's life from a position of hindsight as a linear progression of development. An understanding of the life of an artist, or any other individual, is a much more involved and complex process in reality than a simple linear perspective could reveal. This implies a more reflective and interactive understanding of individual, social and historical development. This again refers the " habitus " and the way that this aspect is integrated with and affected by various other factors. Therefore, in order to understand the social construction of knowledge, the social aspects and conditions that give rise to the habitual mode of experience and understanding must be correlated with the condition in which such knowledge is implemented.

3. "Cultural Criticism and Society"

In "Cultural Criticism and Society" Adorno expands on what he sees… [END OF PREVIEW]

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