DOSSIER : CRITIQUES DE L’IDEOLOGIE
Dirigé par Franck Fischbach
DEBAT : VERS UN ALTERMARXISME ?
Nestor Capdevila: Ideology: Ordinary usage and scolarly usage
As the popularity of the concept of ideology has waned, its ordinary or everyday
usage has mirrored the plight of its scolarly usage, with the postulate of a
“negative” and a “positive” sense of the term, and the opposition between an
“ideological” and a “pragmatic” perspective, albeit with a recognition that
ideology does involve a pragmatic dimension.
F. G. Dufour, S. Rioux: The theory of social property relations and its historical sociology
The theory of social property relations (or Political Marxism) represents an important breakthrough in the renewal of Marxian historical sociology. Rooted in a specific reinterpretation of the transition from feudalism to capitalism grounded in a comparative history of social property regimes, the theory renews historical materialism through a deep historical, relational and geopolitical understanding of history. It offers an important epistemological shift in our understanding of historical change. At the core of the theory is a decisive attempt to debunk the pitfalls of teleological and deterministic conception of history that litters most Liberal, Weberian and Marxist conceptions of history. The theory’s recent developments are also proposing a reinterpretation of the international and geopolitical developments of capitalism and modernity. The purpose of this article is to offer a general presentation of the core attributes, contributions and developments of the theory.
Franck Fischbach : Ideology in Marx : from the “stunted life” to “imaginary” representations
The aim of the article is to define the meaning of the concept of ideology which is proper to Marx. To do so, it examines the writings of the young Marx, earlier than German ideology, bringing together those elements in the 1844 Manuscripts which were to lead to the establishment of the concept of ideology. The article thus shows how the concept of ideology presumes a certain “parallelism” between social life and the life of consciousness, between the process of the production of the material conditions of life and the production of ideal forms, of the ideological representations which are thus shown to be the imaginary and inadequate forms of consciousness. In the case of the dominated, such ideal forms necessarily accompany the stunted and limited forms of social life. In the case the dominant class, they duplicate forms of social life separated from the material conditions of production.
Jacques Guilhaumou: Ideology and its unsaid: the invention of the word and the invention of the notion
As a neologism, the invention of “ideology” is justifiably attributed to the French Idéologues, and to Destutt de Tracy in particular. However by defining the scope of the term as “the science of man”, de Tracy broke with the political metaphysics which was in the process of being formulated in the 1770s and 80s, and which came to dominate the legislative debates between 1789 and 1794. The present article examines the reasons for the marginalisation of de Tracy’s notion at this time. The emphasis is placed on the strategic dimension of the attested usage of the pseudo-concept of ideology in the context of the Directoire, itself a period which was strongly marked ideologically. This approach to the history of concepts enables us to reappraise the question of the invention of ideology and its reception by the young Marx.
Rahel Jaeggi : What is the critique of ideology ?
Two paradoxes seem to characterise the method of the critique of ideology. The first has to do with the fact that ideologies are “both true and false” (Adorno). The second has to do with the fact that the critique of ideology seems to carry both a normative and a descriptive dimension. The article argues that these two paradoxes disappear when the critique of ideology is addressed by way of a Hegelian mode of immanent critique. Such an approach highlights both the specific normative claim of the critique of ideology and the specific problematic which it exemplifies.
Michael Löwy : Mannheim and Marxism : Ideology and utopia
Ideology and Utopia is a work which, in its conceptual and methodological apparatus, has a far greater debt to Marxism and to Lukacs than is evident from the few explicit references figuring in the text. The entire problematic of Standortgebundenheit, of the complicity between thought and social being, is the product of the successful grafting of Marxism onto an underlying historicism. This, in our opinion, is one of the most interesting intellectual contributions of Mannheim. The central sociological question in the book is, furthermore a typically « Lukacsian » one: the question of the social position or locus best able to apprehend the truth. True, Mannheim’s answer is not that of Marxism: it is to the unconnected intelligentsia that Mannheim grants the privilege of cognitive legitimacy, in view of its aptitude to achieve a “dynamic” synthesis between the various perspectives.
Jérôme Maucourant et Bruno Tinel : Capital and the national question
Nations are the forms of political organisation which peoples construct for themselves. It is a commonplace to state that globalisation tends (for the better) towards the end of nations. However the history of capitalism shows that such a hypothesis is questionable. Globalisation is merely a stage in the development of capitalism, which has always leaned on certain nations to secure its deployment: England in the past, the US today. The real question is thus that of the hegemony of one nation over other nations and, ultimately, the question of democracy, the sovereignty of peoples in the face of capital.
Stefano Petruciani, Gérard Duménil, Jacques Bidet, A Debate : towards Altermarxism ?
After a recapitulation of the theses put forward by J. Bidet et G. Duménil in their recent book, Altermarxisme (PUF, 2007), S. Petruciani voices a series of objections to their theory of classes and of historical evolution, and to their analysis of the failure of so-called “real” socialism. In his reply G. Duménil points to the need to distinguish between two perspectives in the analysis of class relations: the structural perspective and a perspective focusing on the construction of power relations as a function of the variable alliances and configurations which are the effects of a hegemonic determination. J. Bidet defends such a theory of class. In particular he argues for a conception of the polar unity of a dominant class which is not grounded on property: a class comprising cadres and the holders of expertise.
Emmanuel Renault : Ideology as description and ideology as legitimation
The Marxian concept of ideology has been subjected to various types of criticism. Some criticism derives from the concept’s internal difficulties. Other criticism stems from the historical evolution of ideological forms. The article argues that a shift which is often presented as an overcoming of ideology is rather to be seen as a transformation of ideology, which in turn calls for a transformation of our conceptions of ideology. The article thus focuses on the trend towards the replacement of a paradigm of justification by legitimation by a paradigm of justification by description.
Karl-Hermann Tjaden : Commodity fetishism and the fetish of capital as an effect of western civilisation.
Marx was aware that economic categories do not live an autonomous conceptual life, that they presuppose, in particular, the material and practical relations which humanity, as an organic living species, establishes with non-human nature. Such relations are to be examined in terms of their development in various historical and geographical milieus. The aim of the article is to highlight the importance of such variable conditioning. To do so, it addresses the categories of fetishism and value, looking at the quantitative orientation of the production of material goods which has developed in western-type civilisation over the last 5,000 years.
Olivier Voirol : Ideology : a culturalist concept and a critical concept
The successive announcements concerning the “end” of ideology or its “return” fail to register the major shift in its use as a concept in social theory: its redefinition in a culturalist perspective. The article begins by recalling the Marxist definition of the concept, comprising three ideas: the distortion of reality, the legitimation of domination, and the loosening of ideological “hold” through its critique. The article then notes the gradual abandoning of the term, before looking at the terms which presided over its culturalist redefinition. The article then examines the contours of a possible renewal of the critical concept paving the way for a renewed critique of ideology. Such a reconstruction is notably based on the theory of recognition. It locates in the idea of the loosening or undoing of ideological hold the thrust of an internal critique
Jacques Bidet est
philosophe, Professeur émérite à l’Université Paris-X. Ses derniers ouvrages
parus aux PUF sont : Théorie générale, Théorie du droit, de l’économie et de
la politique (1999), Que faire du Capital ? (2000), Dictionnaire
Marx Contemporain (avec Eustache Kouvélakis, 2001 ; deux ouvrages parus en
anglais en 2007, chez Brill), Explication et reconstruction du Capital
(2004), Altermarxisme, Un autre marxisme pour un autre monde (avec
Gérard Duménil, 2007). Pour lesautres titres, voir :