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Publisher Description

Ideology and Utopia Ideology and Utopia are intricately linked in Fredric Jameson's work. On the one hand, he calls upon marxists to 'reinvent Marxism as an Ideology, that is, as a vibrant, prophetic, Utopian call to a radical and systemic transformation of our world', (1) and on the other he argues that even the most degraded (his word) art forms such as schlock airport thrillers must offer a certain utopian impulse (he calls it a 'fantasy bribe') as their means of soliciting our interest, which is to say that 'the works of mass culture cannot be ideological without at one and the same time being implicitly or explicitly Utopian as well'. (2) This ambiguity is not a fault in Jameson's thinking on the subject of ideology, however, but rather the structural condition of ideology itself. Indeed, he goes so far as to say that the very usefulness of the term is 'intimately related' to its ambiguousness, rather than 'vitiating' it. (3) At its best, ideology is synonymous with the utopian, it is the rousing cry of the revolutionary at the barricade; at its worst, however, it is the counter-revolution in the revolution. It contains revolutionary ardour and reduces the utopian to a screen for commodity fetishism, becoming simply a reason for buying something that is not as banal as merely wanting to own it. (4) This still begs the question: What is Utopia? What is it that ideology cannot function without? What is it, in other words, that is so powerful an attractor it can compel us to submit willingly to a social system, namely capitalism, that is by definition so utterly iniquitous?

Religion & Spirituality
January 1
Arena Printing and Publications Pty. Ltd.

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