Wednesday, October 12, 2005

Lenin and Philosophy and Other Essays

I have been working with Althusser's notion of ideological state apparatuses to explain the functioning of choirs as sites for the formation of national identity. Well, here is the whole essay, in fact, the whole book, in which he discusses this notion. I am drawing, in particular, on the idea that schools (and by extension, Universities) are ideological state apparatuses that reinforce ideology through rituals in which official university choirs are directly implicated. I am keen to expand on this, however, with the idea that hegemony functions, in part, by facilitating some resistance. Only thing is, I can't remember who said that. Any ideas?


Anawim said...

Hi Nicol,

First, thanks for your site -- I just came to it and find it very informative/thought-provoking.

As to your question: did you mean that hegemony functions by facilitating the appearance of resistance? Mmmhh. Perhaps the closest I have seen to that argument is the article, “Sisyphus at Starbucks: Complicity through Resistance in the Rhetoric of Liberties,” in Gerard Hauser & Amy Grim (eds.), Rhetorical Democracy: Discursive Practices of Civic Engagement, Mahwah, NJ: Lawrence Erlbaum, 2003. The author develops Gramsci's notion of "contradictory conscious" to argue that sometimes the appearance of resistance actually strengthens hegemony (On the notion of "contradictory consciousness," see T.J. Lears, "The Concept of Cultural Hegemony: Problems and Possibilities," AHR 90 (June 1985): 567-94. ).

Hope this helps and continue posting :-)

choirgirl said...

Thanks so much, Anawim. That helps enormously. I have read the Lears at one point, and that, I think, must be where I got it from, but the other article sounds fascinating, and I look forward to reading it. I love that through the internet I can make contact with someone like you, and really expand my knowledge base. Keep in touch. I appreciate the input.

Anawim said...

Glad to have this conversation with you, Nicol. I've been learning a lot from your insightful posts and I look forward to more conversations.

weirsdo said...

Interesting site, but I believe the concept of hegemony implies that we are mindless dupes, and this is a problem for me and a lot of post-Postmodern philosophers. If you haven't already, you might check out John MacGowan, Postmodernism and Its Critics, or The New Constellation, by J. Bernstein, or Eugene Goodheart, The Reign of Ideology, or Charles Taylor, Emmanuel Levinas, Robert Mangabeira Unger--the list goes on.
A productive alternative to Gramsci et. al. may also be found in cognitive science, which provides physiological evidence that mass uncoerced consent to hegemony is extremely unlikely.
Have you looked at the work of the Comaroffs (African cultural historians who use a modified notion of hegemony productively)?

Allan said...

Nothing so cogent.

In the Foundation series by Asimov, the protagonist seeks asylum in a University. The Emperor would not touch him there, for it was considered politically important to let the elite's children vent their youthful angst.