Projekt Ideologie-Theorie

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Projekt Ideologie-Theorie

Rethinking MARXISM Volume 9, Number 4 (Winter 1996/97)

Ideological Powers and Resistance: The Contribution of W. F. Haug and Projekt Ideologie-Theorie

Juha Koivisto and Veikko Pietilä

"There is, indeed, a battle for America's future going on," writes Richard Rorty in his review of Richard Bernstein's Dictatorship of Virtue: Multiculturalism and the Battle for America's Future (1994). Yet, for Rorty, the hotly debated multiculturalism is a "sideshow" while "Bernstein's insistence that it is central is a gift" to the "well-organized, well-financed and very energetic religious Right," a political current that is "a hundred times more threatening."1

Still, the PC debate seems to pose a genuine threat to Rorty's self-proclaimed "postmodernist bourgeois liberalism" (Rorty 1986). To start with, contrary to those many who believe just the opposite, PC's wrestling with "identities" is not post­modernist enough; according to Rorty, by proclaiming "incommensurable" and "sepa­rate" cultural identities, it lapses intellectually into "old-fashioned essentialism" (a claim that while upholding antiessentialism as a standard of argumentation, barely avoids the sin of promoting essentialism by so simplifying a complex issue). But what is more important, though PC lingers on only as an "attempt to get jobs and grants for psychobabbling busybodies," it somehow threatens politically to tear apart "the mythic America"; for Rorty (who presumably is setting standards for an anti-essentialist and antimetaphysical discourse), "that mythic America is a great coun­try, and the insecure and divided actual America is a pretty good one." What seems to worry him are people who are not fond of saluting the flag (maybe the memory of the winning black U.S. athletes in the 1968 Olympic games in Mexico, turning their

backs to the flag and raising their fists, still haunts him). Anyhow, and here seems to be the real substance of his argument, Rorty's appeal for "the mythic America" connects with "the struggle for the mind of an electorate," which for him is "largely coextensive with the white, suburban middle class"—a truly American phenomenon on the mythic scale itself. Because a substantial number of its members are tending toward the religious right—reverting to "law and order" attitudes and demanding more severe penalties, Rorty warns against provoking those members of the white, subur­ban middle class who are pro-Clinton. Besides, by proclaiming that "the mythic America" is "a fraud, multiculturalism cuts the ground from under its own feet, quickly devolving into anti-Americanism, into the idea that 'the dominant culture' of America, that of the Wasps, is so inherently oppressive that it would be better for its victims to turn their backs on the country, rather than claiming a share in its history and future."

What makes Rorty's intervention so interesting is the lively way it evokes some of the hegemonic struggles in the contemporary United States. The question, how­ever, is how to study critically those hegemonic struggles (waged by Rorty also) that permeate the present as well as the way we perceive and shape the future. In the fol­lowing we present an approach that has been developed in Germany by Wolfgang Fritz Haug and Projekt Ideologie-Theorie since the late 1970s. That work, which is focused on forms of domination that do not depend on the direct use of violence or economic compulsion, develops a theory of the ideological as a critique of such domi­nation. In pursuing this aim these theorists have rearticulated Engels's notion of "ideological powers"—as well as Althusser's much more widely known notion of "ideological state apparatuses"—in a way that is useful for both research and politi­cal analysis. In this context, what gives the above piece by Rorty its specific flavor is the exemplary way it parades on the ideological field they have mapped out; part of the irony, of course, is that Rorty is among the foremost contemporary figures who declare the "uselessness" of the notion of ideology (Rorty 1989, 59).

Taking a Look at the Outside

Both the first Projekt Ideologie-Theorie (1977-85) and its successor, which stud­ies the role of philosophy in establishing and normalizing German fascism, have produced numerous books and articles, starting from a critical analysis of prevailing theories of ideology and the preliminary development of its own position (Projekt Ideologie-Theorie 1979). These works contain arguably the most extensive empirical-historical analyses in support of theory development ever provided in the field of ideology analysis. A bibliography published by Haug (1993) contains some 150 en­tries distributed under the following headings: theoretical groundwork; work and way of life; gender relations; state, law, and politics; religion; philosophy; education and

1. If not indicated otherwise, all the following Rorty citations are from Rorty (1994, 13-5).


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Table 1

The Theoretical Field

psychotherapy; art, literature, mass culture, and media; racism and national identity; and most important, fascism.2

Despite its impressive range, this work has gone largely unnoticed in the English-speaking world. At the same time, the burgeoning of the academic Habermas indus­try, also in the English-speaking countries, indicates that some language barriers are more surmountable than others. Talk about "ideal discourse free of domination" seems to suit the academy—as well as the dominant media in Germany—much better than analysis of the actual discourses and practices of power. That this preference for ide­als proclaiming consensus over critical analysis of domination based on consent may have something to do with the workings of the media and the institution of philoso­phy is a view that is tentatively elaborated in what follows.

Before moving on it may be helpful to try to give a preliminary orientation or bird's-eye view of the theoretical field (cf. Koivisto and Pietilä 1993). The constellation of theoretical discourses on ideology is summarized (with some necessary simplifica­tions) in table 1; one dimension, consisting of neutral or critical conceptions, can be related to another comprising different conceptions of ideology as a phenomenon of consciousness or as constitutive of consciousness (or unconsciousness).3 Besides those dimensions, proponents of different conceptions sometimes add some further, func­tional qualification; fulfillment of the functional qualification in question serves as the prerequisite to identifying a phenomenon as ideology. This opens up the possi­bility of defining the ideological character of certain views, meanings, contents of consciousness, discourses, or practices through their relation to the maintenance of and/or challenge to social domination. When Thompson, for example, defines ideol­ogy as "complex ways in which meaning is mobilized for the maintenance of rela­tions of domination" (1984, 5)—that is, as "meaning in the service of power" (1990, 7), from a "deep hermeneutic" position he draws our attention to the consequences of ideology. From a different position, McCarney does the same thing by arguing that for Marx, "forms of consciousness are ideological if, and only if, they serve class interests" (1980, 8; cf. Nielsen 1989).

As in the case of McCarney, a neutral definition of ideology (i.e., straightforwardly containing both the maintenance and contesting of domination) can—at least in prin­ciple—be used within a framework of critical analysis. The issue evolves around the question of actual critical analysis, culminating in the analysis of a concrete political conjuncture. Compared to both the neutral and critical approaches that treat ideol­ogy as a phenomenon of consciousness, the merits of the recent neutral conception

2. The are several books on German fascism (Projekt Ideologie-Theorie 1980; Haug 1986a; Rehmann 1986) and ways to handle it (Haug 1987b). The analyses of the German philosophical apparatus pre­sented in Haug (1989), Laugstien (1990), and Leaman (1993) also put the "case of Heidegger" in the broader context of the "normal" profession of philosophy. Orozco's new, detailed study (1995, cf. 1991) of Hans-Georg Gadamer's philosophical interventions in German fascism may come as a shock to his many admirers.

3. Though these dimensions of the discursive field called "theory of ideology" have been separated analytically here, they may be merged in a single theoretical position. For example, Hauck theorizes ideology as "false consciousness" produced through "discourse + power" (1992, 112-45).

Conceptions of Ideology

A phenomenon of Something that somehow

consciousness constitutes consciousness

Neutral conceptions Contesting, unified Primarily institutionally based

class- or group-specific discourses or practices that produce

world-views consciousness, meanings, and/or subjects

and that are engaged in constant

struggle over ideological elements and topics

Critical conceptions "False consciousness," Projekt Ideologie-Theorie situates the

opposed by science above in the context of a critique of ideal

and practices socialization (Vergesellschaftung) "from

enlightened by it) above"; this form of dominating social

engaged in the anti- relations ("ideological in general") is

ideological struggle embodied in the ideological powers

and contested discourses specific to them

(e.g., by Stuart Hall and the earlier Ernesto Laclau)—focusing on contested prac­tices and discourses and inspired by Gramsci and Althusser—are obvious. Yet, what we want to maintain is that the critical position of Projekt Ideologie-Theorie pivotally develops this neutral conception of ideology and enriches the arsenal of critical analysis.

One way to come to grips with its theoretical contribution is to start with W. F. Haug's (1984) reading of Marx and Engels' s famous metaphor of the camera obscura in The German Ideology. In that classic text the camera obscura, an early forerunner of the technology used in cameras and movies, functions as a point of comparison with ideology.4

Human beings are the producers of their conceptions, ideas, etc.—real active human beings, as they are bound by a definite development of their productive forces and of the intercourse corresponding to these, up to its furthest forms. Consciousness can never be anything else than conscious existence [Bewußtsein kann nie etwas Andres sein als das bewußte Sein], and the existence of human beings is their actual life process. If in all ideology human beings and their circumstances appear upside down as in a camera obscura, this phenomenon arises just as much from their historical life process as the inversion of objects on the retina does from their physical life process. (Marx and Engels 1958-, 3:26)

4. In this and subsequent quotations from German-language texts and editions, the translations are ours.


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This visual metaphor is technically based; camera obscuras were darkened rooms into which a beam of light entered through a small hole and, on the rear wall, formed an upside-down picture of an object located outside the room.

Marxist theorists of ideology have vehemently disputed how to assess this simile (see Pietilä 1993). Those adhering to the notion that Marx equated ideology with "false consciousness"—a notion he actually never used—think that he expressed this view most clearly in the metaphor in question. Others, who think that by ideology Marx meant class-bound world-views or sets of ideas, tend to circumvent this metaphor or to inter­pret it by saying that he wanted to illuminate a specific—that is, bourgeois—world-view, not ideology in general. Althusser, for whom ideology is something material embedded in everyday practices and rituals, dismisses the theoretical contribution of The German Ideology in this regard because, according to him, it nurtures the wrong idea that ideology is "a pure illusion, a pure dream" (1971, 159-60).

All in all, however much the various assessments of the metaphor may otherwise disagree, they all interpret it as indicating that for Marx, ideology was a phenomenon of consciousness. For that interpretation, the metaphor concerns only what takes place inside the camera obscura, but as Haug argues, Marx was speaking of the whole ap­paratus. He asked his readers to step outside the philosophical camera obscura to take a look at how it functions. Let us remember that Marx and Engels used the meta­phor of the camera obscura while considering philosophy as an ideological form. For Haug, it would be mistaken to think that the metaphor stands only for something in the philosophical consciousness (such as inverted philosophical thinking); instead, Marx meant the practice within which philosophers think—that is, in which philo­sophical questions are posed and answered. Hence, the metaphor says that philoso­phy is ideological not primarily as a form of consciousness, but as a form of practice that nurtures certain forms of consciousness (see Mehtonen 1983; Koivisto 1990; Haug 1993, 175-91). For Marx and Engels, this shift of gaze from the "philosophical in­side" of the apparatus to the apparatus as a whole was a prerequisite for overcoming philosophical "empty phrases about consciousness" (Marx and Engels 1958-, 3:27).5

This example enables us to formulate the basic tenet of Haug and Projekt Ideologie-Theorie. The ideological is "not primarily an edifice of thought and consciousness" (Haug I987a, 69) but has to do in the first place with human practices or, yet more generally, with the social relations determining their forms. Accordingly, it is un­derstood "as a modification and an organizational form of the 'ensemble of social relations'" (60). Analysis of the ideological concerns the "articulations" or Gliederung (Marx and Engels 1958-, 3:25; cf. Weber 1994) of the various practices that consti-

5. Since Marx's day, "language" has to a large extent replaced "consciousness" in the philosophical discourses. Rorty himself has actively pursued this "linguistic turn" with its resulting "linguistic tran­scendentalism" (Ree 1990, 36), or, as another commentator on his work puts it, an "inflation of the linguistic which all but obliterates or, better, swallows up the objects of language" (Geras 1995, 116); as Geras notes, "it is as though we had no other choice but between such an inflation on the one hand, and a pure, passive-receptor, blank-sheet empiricism on the other" (116). This reminds us pretty much of the philosophical constellation that Marx criticized so vehemently in the first thesis of his Theses on Feuerbach.

tute the society. In the case of philosophy, for instance, the analysis is concerned with the construction of the philosophical camera obscura—that is, with the practice of philosophy and the mostly unconscious effects of this practice and its dispositive on philosophical thinking itself.

As a practice, philosophy gains its form from the social relations in which it be­comes embedded. According to The German Ideology, an important prerequisite for its birth was the "separation of material and mental work" that enabled the "erecting of 'pure' theory, theology, philosophy, morality, etc." (Marx and Engels 1958-, 3:31); Marx adds that this separation of work coincided with the "first form of ideologues, priests." Yet, philosophy also must be analyzed in regard to the emerging state. Out of the "contradiction between the sectional and communal interest the latter takes an independent form as the state, detached from the real sectional and communal inter­ests" (33; emphasis in original). The sectional struggles lead to the collapse of the communal interest and make "necessary a practical intervention and control through the illusory 'general' interest in the form of the state" (34; emphasis in original). This articulation of society through the state form also means that the dominating class (or ones aspiring to domination) must articulate their interests as "communal" or "gen­eral," which is the special task of the "active, conceptive ideologists" (46) of that class.6

Like the state, philosophy is for Marx a "detached" ideological form. Its real-imaginary "independence," manifested in its own institutions and skills, enables philosophers to carry on their trade of thinking, so to speak, "detachedly"—above and over society. Marx's "positioning of philosophy in the social articulations" (W. F. Haug 1984, 19) highlights the philosopher's role as the specialist of the "gen­eral interest" in societies plagued by inner contradictions. This constellation produces philosophical discourses (about the polis, res publica, general will, the ethical state, values, civil society, etc.) where the "solutions" to real social contradictions are "found" in the philosophical imaginary, evoking communal forms of life. (Rorty's musings about an imaginary community of "mythic America" represent a rather unsubtle case in point.)

For Marx, this situation also has effects on the philosophical discourses of Ger­man philosophy where "consciousness" (and later "language" in the ordinary or tech­nical sense of the word), uncorrupted by sensuous human activity and articulations of social relations, is transformed into the demiurge of human history.7 The produc-

6. As can be seen, The German Ideology contains insights that are close to those elaborated by Gramsci in his Prison Notebooks. Yet, to our knowledge, the first publication of this manuscript did not reach Gramsci in his prison cell.

7. Compare Ree's summation of Rorty's view of history.

The word "language" ... seems to have constructed within Rorty's ironism an idea of "human history" as a kind of enclosure in which, freed from natural accidents and necessities, language-users can make and remake themselves at will—if not in circumstances of their own choosing, then at least in circumstances chosen for them by the "traditions" of their "culture." The irony is that this procedure is like a reversed-out reprint of Terence's unblushingly metaphysical maxim, "Nothing human is alien to me": everything nonlinguistic is alien to Rorty's ironist liberals. (1990. 37)


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tion of these kinds of discourses—which have a "detached" philosophical form but, precisely in that form, support the state, the law, and so on by displacing their origin from real social struggles in "the highest ideas or fundamental values" (Haug 1987a, 70)—is the way in which philosophy functions as an ideological power and takes part in ideological socialization "from above."

Ideological Powers and Socialization "from Above"

Besides the state and philosophy, a host of other forms of practice are "detached" above society. In the Preface to the Critique of Political Economy, Marx regards law, politics, religion, art, and philosophy as "ideological forms" in which social struggles are fought (Marx and Engels 1958-, 13:8). Recalling the earlier analysis in The Ger­man Ideology, in Ludwig Feuerbach and the End of Classical German Philosophy Engels calls them "ideological powers" (ideologische Machte) (21:302); for him, the primary ideological power is the state. For Haug, the concept of ideological powers makes accessible the "approach to the field of historical-materialist theory on ideol­ogy" (1987a, 61). Ideological powers or the "detached" ideological forms of prac­tice are formed when "competences of socialization... exercised 'horizontally,' that is, between members of society without 'vertical' intervention of a superordinated power... are transferred to superstructural instances and their apparatuses and offi­cials" (62). Historically, this takes place within a network of developments among which the most important are the interrelated division of labor and classes and the emergence of the state. The product is a "vertical" ensemble of social relations which forms the framework for the regulation and exploitation of the "direct productive interaction with nature" (62).

Let's stop here for a moment. For Haug and Projekt Ideologie-Theorie, the "ver­tical" organization of social relations represents only the most general condition for the existence of the ideological. It would therefore be incorrect to conceive the ideo­logical solely in terms of the polarity between "horizontal" and "vertical" or to be­lieve that we have here an empirical description of ideology. Nevertheless, this ana­lytical distinction enables us to shed light on Haug's method in constructing his theory and on that theory's practical perspective.

Behind the transformation of the social organization lie practical necessities— problems calling it forth as a means for settling them; accordingly, the "method of forming concepts" for a theory intended to account for certain social phenomena "is that of reconstructing the phenomena to be understood, of deriving their develop­ment out of practical necessity" (59). For Haug, who adopts a critical stance toward Hegelian readings of Marx, this functional-historical method was the one used by Marx himself (see also Haug 1976; Pietilä 1984). Because it provides an answer— not the answer—to certain practical necessities, the ideological "vertical" organiza­tion is not eternally inevitable and ideology is not a transhistorical fate of mankind (as Althusser, for instance, thought). This gives the theory its practical perspective;

its goal is to contribute to the reorganization of social relations—to promoting a situ­ation where society is no longer organized for people by the ideological powers but in solidarity by people themselves.

The ideological powers, embodying above society its "vertical" organization, are theorized by Haug "as institutions of reproductions of an antagonistic social order" (1987a, 91) split by social divisions of labor and class antagonisms. Their function is to hold society together by "containing" its contradictions. They can do it—more or less successfully—through organizing socialization (Vergesellschaftung). Here a note on terminology is in order. Though "socialization" is the direct translation of Vergesellschaftung, it is a somewhat problematic term since it normally means either "making socialist" or adapting individuals to the social order. Vergesellschaftung has the wider meaning of "making society"; besides the adaptation of individuals to society (which can never happen purely passively, but always incorporates a mo­ment of active self-adaptation) it refers to "the shaping and realization of social rela­tions on all levels" (91).

With this wider sense of Vergesellschaftung, Haug summarizes his fundamental theorem as follows: "The ideological is to be conceived as socialization from above" (91-2, cf. 63). Against this "vertical socialization," his anti-ideological intention is to promote "horizontal socialization" (93)—that is, "the self-socialization of people in the sense of a communitarian-consensual control over social living conditions" (59), thereby rendering the ideological powers obsolete. This would not mean the abolition of all the functions they are fulfilling but would strip them of the ideologi­cal form that ties them to the reproduction of domination. In this sense, it is not a question of an abstract and politically ineffective negation of what is being criticized, but of developing and freeing democratic possibilities or potentialities. This social­ist perspective, based on the immanent critique of the present and its determined (bestimmte) rather than abstract negation (Haug 1973), also has a Utopian dimension: "As the needle of the compass points to the magnetic pole, it orients in the near dis­tance. Utopia—without its trace there is no radical critique—is in the long run more realistic than the accommodation that is tied to the present" (1993, 21).

The emergence of the ideological powers seized important competences of socialization from people, creating at "the 'base' of society forms of competence/ incompetence" (62). By in/competences Haug means that while people are compe­tent in certain respects, they are incompetent in others in which they could become competent. Subjected to ideological powers, people have only a restricted social capacity to act (Handlungsfahigkeit). One objective of the theory is to release that capacity from the restricted forms of in/competence.

The notion of Handlungsfahigkeit stems from another remarkable, leftist theo­retical project in Germany, the critical psychology developed by the late Klaus Holzkamp and his coworkers since the late 1960s. Though it may be regarded as perhaps the most developed endeavor in the world to reconstruct a specialized sci­entific discipline on Marxist foundations, this project also goes largely unrecognized in the English-speaking world (see, however, Tolman 1994). Relying on the achieve-

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ments of the cultural-historical approach in psychology, critical psychology has de­veloped a vigorous critique of both mainstream psychological research and (though more sympathetically) phenomenological psychology and psychoanalysis. Despite their differences, what is common to the criticized psychological approaches is that they start their analyses from the "bourgeois private form of the individual and soci­ety understood under the form of an 'environment'" (Haug 1977). Through their opposition between the individual and society, they lose sight of the active social nature of individuals—burying the psychic under statistical variables, privatizing meanings, or conceiving the social primarily in terms of "repression." The aim of critical psychology has been to overcome the theoretical arbitrariness of psychology by developing its scientific basis through an empirically founded, functional-historical reconstruction of psychological categories and their evolutionary and social bases. The strategic place of the notion of Handlungsfdhigkeit in this theory has been to substantiate the notion of an active social subject in a way that opens the path to actual research and to emancipatory political and therapeutic practice.

Haug and Projekt Ideologie-Theorie have intervened in critical psychology by pointing out as a central but open topic of research the way that ideological powers produce structures of in/competence through ideological subjection of individuals. Haug suggested that "psychic representations of the ideological powers enable indi­viduals to voluntarily submit to these powers. They provide the basis for ideological subjectivity, i.e., it is anything but just a passive reflex of social relations. The aufrechter Gang ("upright posture") of which Ernst Bloch spoke and ideological submission (subjectification) are not necessarily mutually exclusive. Conscience and belief under particular conditions can move mountains or break down the wall of particular form of domination" (1987a, 74). This thematization of ideological sub­jection led to a debate on the scientific status and usefulness of the category of the subject (see Haug 1983; 1993,116-35).8 Haug and Projekt Ideologie-Theorie prefer the concept of the active individual and regard the notion of the subject as merely shorthand for describing the result of ideological subjection. They rely here strongly on Althusser's conception of interpellation of individuals as ideological subjects; the effects (subjective and objective, so to speak) of this subjection are nicely gathered in the double meaning of "subject" as "1) a free subjectivity, a centre of initiatives, author of and responsible for its actions; 2) a subjected being who submits to higher authority, and is therefore stripped of all freedom except freely accepting his sub­mission" (Althusser 1971, 182). In this way, ideological subjects adjust to the verti­cal "ensemble of social relations" and take its forms of domination as self-evident.

8. This debate got rather heated at times. We remember witnessing a plenary session at the 3d World Congress of Critical Psychology (in Marburg in 1984) that nearly ended in total chaos during Haug's closing lecture on "The Question about the Constitution of Subject" (reprinted in Haug 1983, 116-35). The reaction to Haug's problematizing of the category of the subject is recorded in the Proceedings as an anonymous cry: "Haug takes from us—us as psychologists—our concepts!" (Braun and Holzkamp 1985, 197). It took the intervention of Klaus Holzkamp to calm down the protesting (and hungry) psy­chologists so that Haug could finish his lecture.

The point, of course, is that if ideological interpellation functions properly, people act of their own "free will."

However, there are no hard and fast guarantees of the proper functioning of ideo­logical interpellations. For Althusser, though there are "bad" or "rebellious" subjects in regard to some dominant interpellations, this indicates that other ideological interpellations have caught them. Though contested,9 for him the ideological and its subject-effect are "in a general" sense "without history"—that is, omnihistorical. As Amariglio has put it, "ideology does not disappear in the course of history, as some Marxists would have it, because it is not a matter of 'false consciousness' or illusion. Ideological processes exist as the means of subjectification, of producing identities through which we 'live' our relation to the world" (1987, 188). This leads eventually to a conception where all social (or for that matter, cultural or discursive) forms are more or less collapsed into the ideological (or vice versa) as Amariglio's "'practico-social' (read, ideological)" (189) brings to the fore.

From the start, Projekt Ideologie-Theorie (1979, 105-29) has criticized this per­vasive conception. The fact that a society (or for that matter, we ourselves) can never be totally transparent is not big news, and to consign "ideological" to conveying the basic fact that social, cultural, and linguistic forms exercise (enabling) power over us brings more analytical losses than gains. Yet, in their view Althusser's concepts of the ideological state apparatuses and of interpellation—both extremely fruitful for research because of their stress on concrete practices—are not bound inevitably to the omnihistorical, psychoanalytic approach to the ideological. Instead, Projekt Ideologie-Theorie prefers to situate the problematic of the ideological on the terrain of social relations and their modifications (with the accompanying forms of in/ competences of individual action) and to concentrate on specific historical forma­tions—class societies held together by the state. Whereas Althusser's viewpoint of "ready-made" phenomena (the "structuralist flirtation" identified in his self-criticism as being in tension with his own stress on the importance of class struggle) made it hard for him to analyze the evolving—as well as the desired dismantling—of ideo­logical state apparatuses, Projekt Ideologie-Theorie looks for mediations in the ac­tivity of individuals, groups, and classes responding to practical necessities. Their own perspective is one of resistance—developing social capacities to act "from below." As may be noted, the tables have turned: in its critique of Althusser, Projekt Ideologie-Theorie draws on critical psychology. The major gain is obviously a sharp­ening of the analytical focus: the rescuing of the ideological as a critical concept from psychoanalytically underpinned, omnihistorical indifference helps to differentiate the toils of the ideological from the "unconscious" effects of "society," "language," or "culture" on individuals.

9. Against the apolitical and abstract functionalist readings of Althusser, consult the recently published manuscript from which his famous "Ideology and Ideological State Apparatuses" (1971) was excerpted (Althusser 1995; see also Pecheux 1984, Hall 1985). Some of Althusser's very important comments on ideology are to be found in his letters to Gudrun Werner-Hervieu, cited in her manuscript "Begegnungen mit Althusser" (n.d.), which she has kindly made available to us.

50 Koivisto and Pietilä

Besides reopening the problematic of ideology on the terrain of contested social formslo Haug has developed a useful conception of the cultural that separates it ana­lytically from the ideological. He defines the cultural as forms of life "in which indi­viduals, groups, or classes practice that which appears to them worth living and in which they conceive of themselves as the meaning and purpose of their life activi­ties" (1987a, 65). An obvious gain of this working definition is that unlike, for ex­ample, semiotic delineations of "culture" as opposed to "nature," it does not exclude sensuality: for example, the food we enjoy is not just meaning. Though the cultural is analytically distinct from the ideological, this does not mean that it is opposed to it; cultural forms can be forms of tying oneself to subalternity11 and, for some classes or groups, can also be the way in which the ideological is experienced (which of course gives the latter enormous strength). There also is a constant exchange of materials between the two since "cultural flowers are continually picked up by the ideological powers and handed back down from above as 'unwithering' artificial flowers" (65). On the other hand, ideological phenomena can be "profaned" and rearticulated culturally.

A third analytical dimension is commodity aesthetics. Its study was pioneered by Haug in his Critique of Commodity Aesthetics (1986b, first published in German in 1971), which studies the relations among capitalist commodity production, adver­tising and its imagery, and the shaping of human needs and sensuality. The "ideo­logical," "cultural," and "commodity aesthetics" are different forces that can be op­erative on the same material, which is why it is important to separate them analytically: "'Ideological,' 'cultural,' and 'commodity aesthetic' designate essential character­istics not of the material, but rather, of its organization which incorporates such ma­terial into an operative network" (Haug 1987a, 65).

We think this delineation of different analytical dimensions offers better concep­tual tools for research than the somewhat intermingled conceptualizations of "cul­ture" and "ideology" prevalent in both the classic studies of the Centre for Contem­porary Cultural Studies and current work in internationalized and, to some extent, academically coopted and deradicalized cultural studies. The advantages are appar­ent even compared to the work of Stuart Hall, a leading exponent of the field and a figure of great importance for Projekt Ideologie-Theorie.12 A problem in Hall' s view (as in Althusser's; cf. Koivisto and Pietilä 1993, 241-3) is that the concept of ideol­ogy has an analytically "ambiguous and unspecified relation" (Hall 1977, 321) to


Projekt Ideologie-Theorie

that of "culture." The same ambiguity also characterizes the relation between "ide­ology" and "discourse" (see Hall 1992, 292-3).

Yet, common to Hall and Projekt Ideologie-Theorie, which also share inspiration from Gramsci, is a focus on the study of hegemonic struggles in a given conjunc­ture. Accordingly, their respective studies of Thatcherism and German fascism rep­resent the "state of the art" in the field. However, though both focus on contested practices and discourses, Hall (like all proponents of a neutral conception of ideol­ogy) does not pay equal critical attention to the specific ideological forms of con­tested practices and to the crucial effects of those forms on struggles.13

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