This essay differentiates the project of ideology critique proper from its less ambitious relative, propaganda labeling. It then proceeds to identify four tasks whose undertaking is necessary in order to update and refresh the project of ideology critique. These four tasks include: 1) distinguishing between ideology and propaganda; 2) understanding ideology in relation to current conditions—especially the abundance and novelty of affect, the shrinkage and acceleration of the ideologeme, and the global circuitry of intellectual exchange; 3) emphasizing the affirmative aspects of critique; and 4) situating ideology in relation to the dynamism of matter—that is to say, capital. Tackling these tasks brings ideology critique into a new phase and confirms its contributions to a collective project of emancipation and survival.
Ideology Critique 2.0
Caren Irr is Professor of English at Brandeis University and the author of Toward the Geopolitical Novel: U.S. Fiction in the 21st Century (2013), Pink Pirates: Contemporary American Women Writers and Copyright (2010), and The Suburb of Dissent: Cultural Politics in the US and Canada (1998). She has also coedited two collections of essays on critical theory, and she is the editor of a collection forthcoming from Minnesota on literary and artistic responses to plastic.
Caren Irr; Ideology Critique 2.0. South Atlantic Quarterly 1 October 2020; 119 (4): 715–724. doi: https://doi.org/10.1215/00382876-8663615
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