French Marxist philosopher Michael freeden ideology a very short introduction pdf Althusser. First published in 1970, it advances Althusser’s theory of ideology.
Where Karl Marx and Friedrich Engels posited a thinly-sketched theory of ideology as false consciousness, Althusser draws upon the works of later theorists such as Antonio Gramsci, Sigmund Freud and Jacques Lacan to proffer a more elaborate redefinition of the theory. Althusser’s theory of ideology remains influential since it was written. The reproduction of production relations is ensured by the wage system which pays a minimum amount to the workers so that they appear to work day after day, thereby limiting their vertical mobility. The reproduction of the conditions of production and the reproduction of the relations of production happens through the State Apparatuses which are insidious machinations controlled by the capitalist ruling ideology in the context of a class struggle to repress, exploit, extort and subjugate the ruled class.
The Marxist spatial metaphor of the edifice describes a social formation constituted by the foundational infrastructure, i. The infrastructure consists of the forces, the means, and the relations of production. The forces included the workers. Also, it consists of the technical knowledge to perform the work, such as training and knowledge.
The means are the materials of production. This includes the raw materials, tools, and machines. The superstructure arises from the infrastructure and consists of culture and ideology.
The culture includes the laws, politics, art, etc. Marx’s theory is that the superstructure comes from the infrastructure and reconditions ways of life and living so that the infrastructure continues to be produced. He scrutinizes this structural metaphor by discussing the superstructure in detail.
A close study of the superstructure is necessitated due to its relative autonomy over the base and its reciprocal action on the base. Althusser progressively developed the Marxist theory of the State, by distinguishing the repressive apparatuses of the State from the ideological apparatuses of the State, which are an array of social institutions and multiple, political realities that propagate many ideologies — the religious ISA, the educational ISA, the family ISA, the legal ISA, the political ISA, the communications ISA, the cultural ISA, etc.
ISA is that their ultimate control by the ruling ideology. The apparatuses of the State, repressive and ideological, each perform the double functions of violence and ideology. A State apparatus cannot be exclusively repressive or exclusively ideological. The distinction between an RSA and an ISA is its primary function in society, respectively, the administration of violent repression and the dissemination of ideology.