Michael Hoover hoov at
Thu Mar 11 14:40:25 PST 1999

> just recently I have decided that I myself
> wish to eliminate "ideology" from my vocabulary and replace it
> with the term "common sense" -- on the assumption that common
> sense (under any definition more or less) is always either trivial or
> viciously wrong. "Ideology" carries so many different meanigns --
> all uncontestable unless one wishes to fight the language, which
> I don't -- that it has pretty much become useless without elaborate
> ad hoc explanations.
> Carrol

Terry Eagleton offers 16 definitions of ideology currently in use (_Ideology, p1-2):

a) the process of production of meanings, signs and values in life b) a body of ideas chracteristic of a particular social group of class c) ideas which help to legitimate a dominant politcal power d) false ideas which help to legitimate a dominant political power e) systematically distorted communication f) that which offers a position for a subject g) forms of though motivated by social interest h) identity thinking i) socially necessary illusion j) the conjecture of discourse and power k) the medium in which conscious social actors make sense of their world l) action-oriented sets of beliefs m) the confusion of linguistic and phenomenal reality n) semiotic closure o) the indispensable medium in which individuals live out their relations

to a social structure p) the process whereby social life is converted to a natural reality

He then offers his own sixfold definition which proceeds from general to specific (pp. 28-31):

1) general material process of production of ideas, beliefs, and values

in social ife 2) ideas and beliefs (whether true or false) which symbolize the connditions

and life-experiences of a specific, socially significant group or class 3) the promotion and legitimation of the interests of such social groups in

the face of opposing interests 4) promotion and legitmation of the interests of a dominant social power 5) ideas and beliefs which help to legitimate the interests of a ruling

group of class specifically by distortion and dissimulation 6) false or deceptive beliefs arising not from the interests of a dominant

class but from the material structure of society as a whole

Michael Hoover

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