The selection, production and distribution of ideas is a material process, involving publishers, schools, movie studios and the like. Similarly the roles that we are offered and that we come to play, mostly without thinking much about it, exist in real, material institutions and consist in real, material gestures, attitudes and behaviors. The Marxist-Althusserian theory is that the ideas that are allowed to be distributed, and the roles that we are encouraged to play, operate so as to reinforce the overall system we are enmeshed within. This also means that the things we think are obvious and the people we think we are operate so as to keep the few who benefit from this system of exploitation, unhappy labor, anxiety, uncertain housing and food, racism, pollution and incarceration… at the top, getting richer and richer. If we mean to change the system, we also have to challenge what we think, what ideas are distributed, and the roles we play.
1. MARX: The Nature of the System We Are In
Marx Alienation video:
Marx Exploitation audio lecture
Recommended Reading: Marx, “Estranged Labor,” pp. 131-143, Marx, “Value, Price, and Profit,” pp. 276-292.
Selected text/quotationsMarx Engels broad Notes
2. MARX: THE CLASSIC THEORY OF IDEOLOGY
Marx on Ideology audio lecture (MM)
Recommended Reading: Marx, German Ideology, pp. 64-65; Marx, Preface to Contributions to a Critique of Political Economy in Selected Writings, p. 211; Marx and Engels, Communist Manifesto, pp. 55-56.MARX'S MODEL OF IDEOLOGY
3. ALTHUSSER: IDEOLOGICAL STATE APPARATUSES
Althusser (and Chomsky) audio lecture (MM)
Recommended Reading: Louis Althusser, Ideology and Ideological State Apparatuses, pp. 6-11, 14-31.Althusser notes (+Fanon Said)
Althusser Chomsky Ideology