Language is always already ideological. In relation to language as constituting the subject and as an expression of power, discuss this statement in relation to two of the following theorists: Althusser, Foucault and Irigaray.
The Evolution of the Concept of Ideology
Ideology is considered as a problematic concept which means that it is a perspective for a variety of social subjects which aims to perceive and interact with their close societal environment. Initially in 1790’s the word “ideology” was devised by a French Philosopher named Destutt de Tracy for describing the science of ideas which was opposed to the traditional metaphysics (Eagleton 2014). This ideology was considered as a discipline so as to enable people for recognizing their biases and prejudices. After many years of the usage of the word ideology, the mean has transformed with ample meanings and interpretations. Bourdieu considered ideology has a distinct concept which was used several times leading to the loss of its actual meaning. Kavanagh described the word ideology as a term to embody various problems which are associated with the complex cultural language having an enriching history. Eagleton says that the ideology is comprised of different ways of thinking and behaviour in a society which has made the society to seem natural and unchallenged to its members. On the other hand, Eagleton is of opinion that ideology is very different from the ideas which are available in the current social milieu. He implied that the ideas and beliefs does not qualify the concept of ideology (Althusser 2014).
This is so because a majority of the point of view has a distinct ideological character hence when it is considered as a critical tool it has very little to offer. On the other hand, language is considered as a potent tool to better understanding between the people as well as help others interact as well as enable a spirit of form different ideologies. Language is considered as a crucial impact in having a healthy relation with each other as well as the society. The earlier times have seen were language was considered as a source of power affecting the lives of people to a greater extent (Hunt 2017). Althusser remarks two chief mechanisms for protecting that people within a State behave in compliance with the rules of the given State. Firstly, Althusser talks about the RSA, or Repressive State Apparatuses, which has the ability to enforce behaviour such as the police, the criminal justice and prison system. Through these "apparatuses" the state has the power to force you physically to behave. Althusser's first premise or thesis is that "Ideology is a 'representation' of the Imaginary Relationship of Individuals to their Real conditions of existence." He initiates his description of this statement by watching at why people need this invented relation to real conditions of presence (Larrain 2013).
Louis Pierre Althusser is considered as the one of the most influential and renowned Marxist Philosopher of the twentieth century. He offered a renewed thought of Marxism thought and these philosophy created an indifference (Jameson 2013). Althusser is a member of the French Communist Party whose arguments and ideas were contrastingly set against the arguments and thesis threats which can be seen as an attack to the theoretical foundations of Marxism including the influence of empiricism on Marxist theories.
The Role of Language in Constructing Social Reality
Althusser believed that the ideologies are transmitted and circulated by the different agencies which helps to construct identity of the people. However, the slow pace of circulation and covertness does not allow what is happening. Further, he believes that we are somewhat controlled by the presiding classes and their ideas of rightness and wrongness is inflicted upon us inevitable as they have a certified power of rule and wealth. The immediate repercussion of this has an impact on the way of life, gender biasness, sexuality, ethinicity and class. It also include religion, education, popular culture, education, mass media and religion. He also considers that we are not individuals but rather we are subjects which can be categorized by certain set of rules and regulations (Sharp 2017). The ideas of him suggests that that we lose our individuality which can be applied very easily. Althusser’s language of ideology serves mainly to conserve the dominating order, for both at the level of practice which is unconsciously assumed premises. It also relates that such a world view which is to symbolize a remedy for all areas of shortage in almost every human beings real living conditions. The language can also create a remedy for all areas of shortage signifying the real living conditions of the human beings. The language further creates rules that aspire for universal and describe the boundaries of the current social order.
Karl Marx who considered ideology as a misleading system of ideas' contrastingly for Althusser ideology is 'a practice, all pervasive and generative in varying degrees in all the social activity'. Certainly, the thesis of Althusser is more radical in alternative wisdom. It ruins the platonic idealist interpretation of ideology. Plato has assumed that philosophies, dogmas and connotations have their non-figurative presence as either unrestricted floating in vacant places without a reference or are formed by awareness (Freeden, Sargent and Stears 2013). The philosophy of Michel Foucault is often contrasted with Althusser who advocates the adequate usage of the concept of ideology. While Foucault refuses to use or appreciate the usage of the concept altogether. For Althusser, Ideology represents the imaginary relationship of the individuals to their real conditions of existence. Althusser talks specifically about Marxian theories and how the class struggle interferes with social formations, which is very much a Sociology view of studying society. In thinking about how ideologies create a machine that we cannot escape from, however, a Sociological perspective would argue that ideologies, ISAs, and even social class stratification are an essential part of the functioning of society (Johnson 2018).
One of the primary theories that governs Sociological thought is Functionalism, which essentially means that every system needs to achieve at state of homeostasis (equilibrium). Therefore social institutions, such as education, religion and the family, exist to meet society’s basic needs to survive and thrive in a state of equilibrium and normalcy.
Therefore from this Sociological perspective, I find it hard to agree that a resistance against ideology would make the world a better place. All social institutions serve a specific purpose that allows society to function. For example, education is an important agent of socialization for young children. They teach those social norms and how to behave among other people, which Althusser agrees with, but protests against the dominant’s class affect on these ideologies.
Althusser's Theory of Ideology and Power
Michele Foucault was born on October 15, 1926. Though psychologically he was tormented in his early childhood days, he was established academically erudite, holding a series of position at French Universities. He was a philosopher with academics in both psychology and history. Foucault work is predominantly celebrated for its pioneering method to the marvel of power. A radically original analysis of power which defines power in the negative light showing its repressive character yet productive (Apple 2017). The structures of power are regarded as prohibition which has the ability to create newer things such as behaviour, knowledge and other structures. Foucault demonstrates this by concentrating on the past of Western penal systems further relating it with disciplinary establishments. He argues that the power structures has been immensely used to confine the various elements of the society emphasizing that these structures has a unique tendency of repression. The power structure is largely used to manipulate and bring book to the behaviour of the people. In this logic, the issue and his yearnings and wants are the creation of the supreme structures reasonably than a system of ‘human nature’ that is purportedly inhibited. Foucault writes: “The individual is no doubt the fictitious atom of an ‘ideological’ representation of society; but he is also a reality fabricated by this specific technology of power that I have called ‘discipline’. We must cease once and for all to describe the effects of power in negative terms: it ‘excludes’, it ‘represses’, it ‘censors’, it ‘abstracts’, it ‘masks’, it ‘conceals’. In fact, power produces; it produces reality it produces domains of objects and rituals of truth. The individual and the knowledge that may be gained of him belong to this production.”
Language, discourse and knowledge is known to affect the human behavior as well as his perceptions. Language forms a basic and fundamental instrument which aims for sharing any values and opinions as it is considered as the only medium to communicate human feelings. It is considered as major weapon of expression through adequate usage of words (Layoun 2014). The various facts and information can be understood only through a proper language as it enables a mutual understanding between two individual. An ideology can be only communicated through language hence it acts as a foundation of understanding the thoughts and perception of the people. Knowledge gained by the people either through writing or verbally, is possible only through a language. While power on the other hand is considered as a repressive measure having control and authority and inextricably related to masculinity. It is further defined as a chance of a man or the number of men which realizes that their own will is considered against the resistance of the others who are actively playing a part in the action. Foucault analyzes that for many centuries the historians turned their focus and attention towards the longer period of the history. These historians are trying to disclose that the stable and eternal system of forms and balances, for the process which may be called as permanent, or endless modifications further these tendencies gather required force. In context of language, Foucault has given three level of language in which the first level of language, it is raw and primitive and a simpler form of writing (Parekh 2015). Language is nothing more than a certain case of importance of people or a singular case of presentation for the classical though and age. This interpretation of language was inferred from his remarkable words that the primacy of the written words went into abeyance.
Foucault's Theory of Power and Subjectivity
Language has been inextricably linked with knowledge in variety of ways and each of them corresponds to a unique sense of return. This can be understood by the history of natural languages introducing many confusions and distortions that we can attempt to try to eliminate through the techniques of formalization. Foucault has also described that language is not more important than the figure of man.
Being one of the influential social theorists having a great length of work and greater engagement with the theorization of power concentrating on the institutional structure which is circulated in various discourses. Power has always been a contested subject of discussion and considered strictly in the theories of international theories. In the book, of history of sexuality, he has discussed upon the challenges of the traditional concepts of power as a repression with an intricate relationship with knowledge (Brass 2013). The social forms such as knowledge which has affected the power has been debated numerous times. The conclusion arrived is the two distinct views. The first view is concerned with the quantitative phenomenon of power which focuses on the comprehensive actions and discusses the complexity of power in detail.
The language also creates rules which aspire to become a universal and define the boundaries of the currently dominating social order. When a child grows up to become a pupil, he accepts and then compiles with the rule to communicate in a language that he is learning in the school which impacts in development of the ideology and enables which is created through the language. Language also plays a crucial role in the developing the identity of the human and the potential to influence his mind (McHoul, McHoul and Grace 2015). A human being grows up on the strong basis on language which gives him or her the power to express. This expression allows him to interact and understand the variety of life. The adult grows up with an aim to assume power which he attains through working and effecting the lives of people. When he attains certain power it enables him to create a dominating social order which affects his life on prior basis. Therefore, the significance of language remains at every stage of life and language also shapes the life of the individual largely. It can be distinctly considered to affect the opinion and choices a human make in life further the social order is also predominantly affects the opinion (Ball 2013).
The language acts as catalyst to the reproduction of subordination to the dominating ideology which creates an everyday level of understanding through language. Further, Althusser also failed to notice the distinct change in the ideological interpellation which force different ideologies based on the visionaries of the world. Language has enabled people to understand each other and given way to a globalization. It has brought people closer as one person can interact with another person easily (Smart 2013). The ease of communication has not only helped people to become interdependent but also to influence the opinion of others. Building of perspectives, created a debatable society where people can impact each other lives has been possible only due to extant language. On the other, hand power has enabled people to subjugate. This influence can be created on the people at large with the weapon of language.
Comparison and Critique of Althusserian and Foucauldian Theories
Foucault and Althusser’s ideologies stand at poles apart and there concept make them enemies of each other. Foucault has shown the impact and the implications of power which can have on the lives of people particularly the vulnerable and the marginal segments of the society. The power has enable people to dominate and create a pessimistic society which is harmful for the growth of ideologies of the people. Power often make people obsessive due to which can make them forget the basic humanity. Some people considered power as the utmost crucial principle and quintessential element of life. Excessive power has enabled people to overrule others at the expense of humanity. It has also made people inhuman which has cost the lives of many people. The power should be used adequately used as it can create havoc in the lives of the others. It affects the society of the and inhibits the growth and development of the society as well as helps in growth of the nation as a whole. A characteristic feature of modern power which implies disciplinary control. This concern demonstrates the crucial function of contemporary disciplinary systems. The foremost goal is not retaliation which was in the case of the sufferings of pre-modern reprimand. It is in fact a reform, meaning largely coming to live by the standards of the society. Discipline through striking specific and comprehensive norms is pretty different from the traditional system of legal punishment.
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