September 11, 2005

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Living Ideology One of the most powerful attributes of a hegemonic ideological formation is its irrationality and inconsistency. That is, what makes an ideology strong, what makes it stick, what enables it to produce its supporters, are its weaknesses and inconsistencies. Even though I sorta hate to admit it, I recognize this irrational component of attachment in my own engagement with Zizek. The problems in his work (repetitive, sloppy, too fast, too extreme in points) are challenges that say: ok, are you with me? are you willing to go to the limit, to stick with this even though it doesn't work? It's kind of a sickening feeling. And, weirdly, it also confirms an important component of his position: namely, that what attaches people to an ideological formation is its irrational core. So, no one is immune. What does this mean for politics? We can think about it in terms of the Right--a weird combination of neoliberal economics and neoconservative religious dominionism. Now, there is a way that these views make sense together: neoliberal economics requires imperial (or colonial) domination in order to work. And, it also requires that a whole series of assumptions remain unquestioned (as the articles from Harpers that I blogged about back in April made clear. See also Allen Ruff's interesting discussion of neoliberalism and social darwinism.) Yet, at the level of ideology, it's important that the views remains separate. So, one strand of the Republican party argued heavily from the 70s through the 90s against big government, tax...

Jodi Dean

Jodi Dean is a political theorist.

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