Saturday, June 10, 2006

politics vs. economics--are they really that distinct?

I just finished reading Michele Barrett's The Politics of Truth: From Marx to Foucault. I found it to be a helpful mapping of ideology debates and a clear explanation of Foucault's critique of Marxism (or the ways in which Foucault would critique Marxism, if that is what he were directly setting about to do).

Still, I must remind myself to be careful with these types of "secondary" sources. Barrett has clearly aligned herself from the moment of her dedication: For Stuart and Catherine Hall, and so even while she summarizes, paraphrases, elucidates it is all for the sake of making an argument. I am easily seduced.

And yet, I AM seduced by post-structualist critiques of Marxism. They DO make sense to me, and yet by the end of the book I am still missing Barrett's alternative to class interest (as the point around which ideology coalesces). She argues that the point of class interest in Marx's concept of ideology is "simply inadequate, for all the reasons that have been brought forward in this book. Hence the concept of ideology that I would propose applies equally to processes of mystification that arise around other (non-class) social divisions and other forms of social power and domination" (167). I guess the thing that bothers me--granted I have NOT gone back through and reviewed the book...not yet--is that I am left guessing as to what these non-class social divisions and forms of power and domination are. I mean, I can GUESS what they are, but I don't like the fact that they aren't very explicitly named and explored. She alludes to gender...and maybe at some point race. I intend to go back through the book shortly, so who knows...maybe I'll take this back...but Foucault says it is okay...even expected...to do that, so what the heck....

4 comments:

Anonymous said...

Why would one replace a toaster oven with an electric guitar and ask the guitar to make you breakfast? Seems like you are judging the new critique by the old standards, each leads to useful ways of thinking but neither is totally explanitave . . .thus one can be seduced by mutually exclusive postions.

Dave said...

Sorry the above comment got posted as anonymous

VTmtngrrl said...

It's pretty comical that when I first read that comment as anonymous (and without the clarification post), I was thinking...hmmm...who posted that? It sounds like something Dave would say:)

I get HOW I can be seduced by mutually exclusive postions, but then it just leads me to wonder...why bother to have mutually exclusive positions to begin with? Why not use the toaster oven to make some music? I could rock out on a toaster oven.

Dave said...

Mutually Exclusive positions are the only way to go, all positions rely on organizing the tension between mutually exlcusive postions, negotiating the middle . . .yes and it gets really exciting when you figure out how to rock out to the toaster oven-what a sense of style that would be-but you still wouldn't say "shitty toaster oven" its strings don't tune properly