Marxism Introduction (PowerPoint download) by pengxiuhui

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									     Althusser, Louis (1918-1990)

Marxism 2:
Ideology & Hegemony

        Antonio Gramsci(1891-1937)
Marxism: Topics & Schools on Focus
 Vulgar Marxism:          Dialectic Materialism,
 Karl Marx                Class &
 Western Marxists :       Literature & Society
  Althusser‘s theory of
  Ideology & Gramsci‘s

 American & British    Marxist Literary
  Marxism: Jameson and Criticism
 Foucault &文學社會學          Literature as Discourse
• Marx: Q & A
A. Superstructure and Base: Debates and Related
B. Ideology
    1. Ideology defined ν
    2. L. Althusser       ν
    3. Examples of Ideology ν
C. Social Structure vs. Social Formation and Over-
   Determination             ν
D. A Marxist Reading: More Examples for Analysis;
   The Great Gastby (excerpt)
• A. Gramsci
• Examples of hegemony
• References and for next time
Marx: Q & A
• What is materialist determinism? (chap 5:
• What are the evils of capitalism
  according to Marx? (e.g. chap 5: 83; chap 6: 83)
• Is class relation—or relation of
  production—still relevant today?
• Why do we desire more than we need?
  Why are commodities fetishized?
Superstructure vs. Economic Base
in the History of Marxism:
1. Marx, Lenin              1. (lit. as propaganda)
   Stalin‘s politicization
   of literature;
2. Marx, Lenin              2. Realism vs. Modernism
   Western Marxism (e.g.        debate; their critique of
   Lukacs, Brecht,              culture industry and
   Benjamin, Adorno)            belief in human agency
(chap 5: 84; chap 6: 84)        (variations of
3. Poststructuralist            reflectionism)
   Marxism -- Althusser;     3. Over-determination
4. Neo-Marxists‘ use of      4. Conflicting Hegemonies
Literature & Society (1)
• Literature of Commitment & Reflectionism (chap 5:
• Functions: criticizing the wrong, and bringing
  changes. (critics as a warning system or a mentor)
• Mode: realism as a prefer genre? (88)
   Related questions about “political correctness”
   -- What are the functions of literature?
   -- Is good literature politically committed literature?
   -- Does literature have to ―reflect‖ its society, or help
       promote a certain political cause? (e.g. The Education of
       Little Tree; ref. Forrest Carter 1, 2)
   -- On the other hand, can literature or art works be
       completely un-political or negative?
Literature & Society (2)
• Ways of reflecting society indirectly

  – not through content but through forms
   (e.g. fragmentary form as a way to
   reflect social fragmentation);
  – incorporating different ideologies
  – the political ―unconscious.‖
Are we blind to our own

Ideology Defined
• ―rigid set of ideas‖; e.g. somebody refrains from
  eating meat ―for practical rather than ideological
  reasons.‖ 落入意識形態之爭 –-(general usage)
• ruling ideology: legitimating the power of the
  dominant group — (Marx) negative (chap 5 86)
• sets of ideas to justify certain organized social
  actions --could be positive or negative ( like
  ―hegemony‖) (chap 5 86)
• *sets of ideas to misrepresent the world (and
  our relations) to us, in order justify certain actions
  while masking their real nature. – negative 
  They look natural.          (chap 6: 84-85)
Althusser, Louis (1918-1990)
• Born 1918 in Algiers;
• Joined the Communist Party in
  Paris in 1948.
• Attempted to reconcile
  Marxism with Structuralism.
• Influential works: For Marx
  (1965) and Lenin and
  Philosophy (1969).
  – Note: Murdered his wife in 1980,
    and was confined to an asylum till
    his death in 1990.

Althusser‘s Revision of Marxism
1. Ideology:
  •   Sees Ideology – not as just ideas or ―false
      consciousness‖ (which implies ―true
  •   Subjectivation: Explains both social structure
      and individual‘s subject position in relation to
2. Social Formation:
  •   Against reflectionism, argues for Literature‘s
      ―relative autonomy‖ from Base; it is
      determined by Base in the last instance
      (ultimately) (more later)
Why is it natural? Why are we blind?
• Natural–
  – We are born into ideologies, ―always
   already interpellated‖ as subject (We
   take different subject positions in
  – Ideologies speak to us and for us.
• Blind –
  – ideologies disguise real relations;
   present ‗imaginary‘ relations.
          Ideology Defined by Althusser
          • Subject = Being subject to Ideology: Ideology has the
            function of constituting individual as subjects.
             – (not used) Interpellation –a.正式質問(官員) the formal right of
               a parliament to submit formal questions to the government
             – (used) Interpellation the police act of interpelling someone;
               a policeman hailing us ―hey you!‖  guilty subject. Ref.)
           • Ideology as Misrepresentation: Ideology is a
              ‗Representation‘ of the Imaginary Relationship of
              Individuals to their Real Conditions of Existence.
           • Systematic Control by Consent: Ideology is not any
              idea; it should be a system of ideas (representation)
              produced by some institutions (state apparatuses 國
           (Mis-Representation, or Mis-Recognition from Lacan‘s
              idea of mirror stage. Society produces us as subject
              in its own image. Chap 6 p. 86)
•(chap 6: 85)
   Ideologies: Examples
  •Ideology is not a singular idea; it works in aideology
  •Which of the following are part of a certain system
  -- justify some some ISA, distorting relations.
  to produced by power, support somesome reality ?

1. 我以身為台灣人為榮。 1.             Nationalism; patriotism;
     我以身為美國人為榮。              cosmopolitanism used in ads
                        2.   ―The Taiwanese‖ populism;
                        3.   Supporting the school as an
2. 阿扁是台灣之子,是全                ISA in patriarchal society;
     民的總統。              4.   Supporting the authorities of a
3. 一日為師,終生為父。                certain Church or priest;
4. God is truth.             confirmed by church services.
5. The Earth is round.  5.   --so the myth of 女媧補天 is a
                             mere superstition.
6. It is human to love.
                        6.   --so I can love anyone I‘d like.
7. Men are from Mars;   7.   --so we should not expect men
     women from Venus.       to comfort or support others.
        Social Structure—
        of Vulgar Marxist
Ideology: the ruling ideas of the ruling
  class imposed on the other classes.
    e.g. Literature of the middle class,
               of proletariat

          Base(as foundation, center)
           relations of production,
             means of production
            Social Formation —
               for Althusser
1. Literature/Culture & Economic Base
      relatively autonomous from;

      • reflect, embody, perform, transform,
                      Multiple Ideologies

                         Social Levels
    2. Social Multiple Causality: Over-determination
Social Formation -- de-centered
 • State Apparatuses (Repressive &



Lit. work: Relative autonomous
• over-determined;
• economic influences mediated (媒介) through
  various ISA‘s

        文學               Superstructure
書                    學
局 作者/讀者              院
How do we do a Marxist
    1.                   Power/Class
         (ref. chap 5– p. 88-89)
        Relations shown in the text, its
        character relations, setting, as
        well as its background
    2. The role of capitalism, workers,
    3. ideologies
       -- identifying them and the social
            practices which support them;
       -- discover contradictions between
            different ideologies
Ideology: an Artistic Example
• From Titian’s Venus of Urbino (1538)
Venus of Urbino (1538)
      1. Revises Giorgione's The
         Sleeping Venus (1510)
      2. Titian‘s:
        ―a flesh-and-blood beauty, awake
             and fully aware of the viewer's
             presence.‖ (ref)
           1. An allegory of ―lustful love‖ (with
               signs of her hand, rose)
           2. Celebration of marital love
           (with signs of praying, white dress, the
               dog—loyalty, and myrtle (桃金娘)—
Ideology: an Artistic Example
• To Manet’s Olympia (1863) pay attention to her
  gaze, her hand, the black woman and the black
Ideology: an Artistic Example
  • Manet’s Olympia
   --multiple ideologies:
  1) sexual capitalism (prostitution)
      presented, and critiqued?
     -- Not Venus, nor Eve or Danaë, a real
     -- the woman‘s direct stare and upright
         pose, the strong hand
  1) The blackness inscribed as a
     contrast. (no backdrop to suggest any
      symbolic or mythic depth of this space,
Ideology: some CF‘s
• 創蘋記
Contemporary Ideology of Love :
• Love = motorcycle or car supporting
  tolerant and strong men vs. wayward
  or weepy women
Commodification of Love – no fixed or
human object of love
•遠傳電信-預付卡-愛情告白 (cell phone
 as my dear )
 (because the cell phone rate is cheap)
The Great Gatsby: General Introd.
• Setting: in New York City and Long
  Island in 1922.
  – 1920’ (Roaring 20’s): is a time when the
    American society experienced a cultural and
    lifestyle revolution. In the economic arena, the
    stock market boomed, the rich spent money on
    fabulous parties and expensive acquisitions, but
    they are morally irresponsible. (e.g.)
• Narrator: Nick Carraway going to the East
  as an initiation to the world of wealth and
Jordan Baker‘s ―carelessness‖
• Nick: You're a rotten driver, either you ought to be
  more careful or you oughtn't to drive at all.
• Jordan: I am careful.
• Nick: No you're not.
• Jordan: Well, other people are.
• Nick: What's that got to do with it
• Jordan: They'll keep out of my way, It takes two to
  make an accident
• Nick: Suppose you met somebody just as careless
  as yourself?
• Jordan: I hope I never will, I hate careless people.
  That's why I like you.
 The Great Gatsby: General Introd. (2)
• Symbols: East Egg (the rich area for the
  aristocrats) and the West Egg (the newly rich )
  on Long Island, parties, green light and, the
  valley of ashes
• The eyes of Doctor T. J. Eckleburg: ―blue and
  gigantic---… They look out of no face but, instead,
  from a pair of enormous yellow spectacles which
  pass over a nonexistent nose.‖
The Great Gatsby: General Introd.
• Nick– refrain from judgment at the
  beginning rejecting humans at
  the end.
  – ―I would want no more privileged
    glimpses into the human heart. Only my
    neighbour, Gatsby, would be exempt
    from my reaction. … For Gatsby turned
    out all right in the end; it is what preyed
    on Gatsby, what foul dust floated in the
    wake of his dream.‖
G‘s Passion vs. the Moral Desert
& Paralysis
• Foul dust -- undesirable desire
  – Daisy and Tom‘s marriage
  – The superficial parties
  – Tom‘s for Myrtle (his mistress, who fight with him
    all the time);
  – Nick‘s relationship with Jordan Baker;
• How about Gatsby‘s love for Daisy?
• And Nick's interest in Gatsby the bootlegger,
  hoodlum, millionaire and what he represents
   The American Dream (green backs +
Literary Example -- The Great
Gatsby –first reunion (clip 51:00)
• How are images of romance and money
  intertwined in the first excerpt?
Contradiction 1:
• Images of wealth: D’s brass buttons, G’s gold
• Images of romance: beauty, tears, light,
• Images of social power + nature: Images of
  nature + names, guests in G’s mansion 
  which represents his social power
• G’s romantic sentiments        throwing clothes
  at Daisy
Literary Example -- The Great
Gatsby –first reunion (clip 51:00)
Contradiction 2: alienation or splitting of
  the signifiers (their exchange values)
  from the signified (the black market).
• S-ier (1): G’s house catching light,
  splendor  S-ied: how he earns the
• S-ier (2): Daisy’s evaluation matters.
  (―Rich girls don‘t marry poor boys‖)
The symbol: the green light --1. green
  pasture, 2. green light (= Daisy), 3. green
Literary Example -- The Great
Gatsby –the past
• What does ―the past Daisy‖ mean to
• He has to go back to the past to sort things
  – Images of ascendance (ladder) to life and
    wonder (―milk of wonder‖);
  – Daisy– ―perishable,‖ only an incarnation of
    something else.  social position or fullness of
    life, or both?
• Nick‘s response: An elusive rhythm, a
  fragment of lost words (Dream –regressive,
The Great Gatsby –the ending
• Green light –again more important than Daisy

―And as I sat there brooding on the old, unknown
  world, I thought of Gatsby's wonder when he first
  picked out the green light at the end of Daisy's
  dock. He had come a long way to this blue lawn,
  and his dream must have seemed so close that he
  could hardly fail to grasp it. He did not know that it
  was already behind him, somewhere back in the
  vast obscurity beyond the city, where the dark
  fields of the republic rolled on under the night.
Gatsby believes in the green light, the orgiastic (狂飲
  作樂的) future that year by year recedes before us.
  It eluded us then, but that‘s no matter--tomorrow
  we will run faster, stretch our arms out farther . . .
  so we beat on, boats against the current, born
  back ceaselessly into the past.‖
The Great Gatsby:
undesirable desire (2)
   Daisy—actually undesirable, too.
   • G (about Daisy): ―Her voice is full of money‖
   • N: ―It was full of money—that was the
     inexhaustible charm that rose and fell in it,
     the cymbals‘ song of it . . . High in a white
     palace the king‘s daughter, the golden girl.‖
   • The undesirable to replace the
   • The American Dream for Fitzgerald –
     pure at first but polluted by materialism
   • But is American Dream desirable?
GG in the context of Modernism
(for your reference)

• The moderns -- a simultaneity of
  incongruities and paradoxes.
• Modernism was defined as a time of
  "refusal"--of middle-class pieties,
  scientific or philosophic certainty,
  propriety, tradition, and faith (Hoffman
  32-33, 40 qtd Kaplan 145).
•  setting up untraditional tradition;
  looking for undesirable desire.
GG in the context of Modernism
(for your reference 2)
• Undesirable desire is a guilty pleasure, not
  a mere paradox or incongruity.
• The trope of undesirable desire provided a
  covert means of getting in on cultural
  debates over national belonging, of
  participating--through the construction of
  desirable and undesirable love objects--in
  the national debate over who was and was
  not a desirable American and why. (Kaplan
  147)  American Dream as a means of
The Great Gatsby and
The Ideology of American Dream
• The Dream‘s Material Base: Capitalist
  pursuit and acquisition. (the real condition)
• Imaginary Relation represented by
  Gatsby band the green light – the
  fallible but desirable ―We [The
  Americans] turn out alright at the end.‖
•  Daisy and Tom, the undesirable.
• But the problem is that it’s hard to
  distinguish them from each other.
From Ideology to Hegemony

1. Gramsci: considers the role of the
   organic intellectual and competing
   hegemonies (heterogeneous and
   always being modified).
2. Hegemony = Dominant Ideology,
   but not always controlling us.
Antonio Gramsci (1891-1937)

       • Supporter of Russian
         revolution and activist in
         socialist transformation
         throughout the advanced
         capitalist world.
       • Arrested in 1926, kept in
         prison 1928 – 1937, where he
         wrote the Prison Notebook.
Hegemony: control by consent
• Chap 6: 88-89)
• Ideological leadership; consensual control;
• "...Dominant groups in society, including
  fundamentally but not exclusively the ruling
  class, maintain their dominance by securing the
  'spontaneous consent' of subordinate groups,
  including the working class, through the
  negotiated construction of a political and
  ideological consensus which incorporates both
  dominant and dominated groups." (Strinati,
  1995: 165)
• (source
  gram.htm#hege )
Gramsci– hegemony not secure
• not given to the dominant group, but "has to
  be won, reproduced, sustained."
• Hegemony can only be maintained so long
  as the dominant classes succeed in framing
  all competing definitions within their range...
  so that the subordinate groups [get] either
  controlled or contained within an ideological
  space . . (13; Norton 2455.)
Hegemony: examples –images of
the Blacks
• Winning spontaneous consent through
  granting of superficial 'concessions'
  (Strinati,1995:167 qtd Mystry).
• This involves the dominant group making
  'compromises' that are (or appear as)
  favourable to the dominated group, but that
  which actually do nothing to disrupt the
  hegemony of the dominators.
black images
• I. Three stereotypes: Mammy, slaves,
  clown (e.g. TV minstrel show)
  spontaneous consensus to their slavery
  or inferiority.

• II. Positive images based on normative
  white ideals
• Images in late 80’s: e.g.
• --the middle-class household of
The Cosby Show points out that
there is 'nothing black' about
the Huxtable's lifestyle
(Mercer 1989:6 qtd in Mystry).
Strategies of containment
Sympathy shown for the minorities,
but with the whites as the real heroes.

e.g. Cry Freedom;       Counter Hegemonic
                         Practices: e.g. Hip
The Last of the          Hop.
Dances with Wolves
• Louis Althusser Archive
• Kaplan, Carla ―Undesirable Desire: Citizenship and
  Romance in Modern American Fiction‖ Modern
  Fiction Studies 43.1 (1997) 144-169.
• An Introduction to Gramsci's Life and      Thought
• Antonio Gramsci
• Mistry, Reena. ―Can Gramsci's theory of hegemony
  help us to understand the representation of ethnic
  minorities in western television and cinema?‖
Next time: Marxist Literary
• (Reader: chap 5 & chap 6 review)
• F. Jameson & T. Eagleton as a focus.
• "The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock― 
  ideologies of the author, the genre and the
• Find an example of an ideology yourself.
• Ref.
•   Song ―Suicided by Society‖
•   animation: LoveSong of J. Alfred Prufrock Rev. Animation

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