The Real World of Ideology, Joe McCarney 1980

Chapter 1
Marx’s Conception

SOME preliminary remarks should be made about the method of inquiry to be used in this chapter. The task of explicating Marx’s view of ideology is one which, notoriously, gets no systematic attention in his own writings. Indeed, for all the use made of the concept there is little that may safely be taken even by way of oblique comment on its grammar. We are given a set of clues and left to discover the pattern for ourselves. Here is a central fact of his procedure, and one must come to terms with it. The reticence of the texts has to be respected as a true reflection of the nature of his interests in this area. These are overwhelmingly conjunctural and instrumental, scarcely ever taking a turn towards analysis or general reflection. The problems that result will be familiar enough to students of what Antonio Gramsci has called ‘a conception of the world which has never been systematically expounded by its founder’.[1] The founder’s treatment of ideology might have been designed to point up this description, and in the circumstances some degree of methodological austerity seems advisable. At any rate this discussion will concentrate initially on the explicit references to ideology and the ideological to be found in Marx’s work: these are the primary clues that have to be fitted together. It will be assumed that where he wishes to use the concept he will generally be prepared to do so under its own name. The inquiry will then be directed to reconstructing the principle of this usage. It will ask what it presupposes, what general assumptions it is shaped by and what view of the nature of ideology can best make sense of it.

The decision to develop one’s account of a concept on the basis of the clear-cut instances of its use may seem uncontentious and indeed scarcely worth stating. In the case of most major thinkers this might well be so. It does not generally seem to occur to interpreters of Locke on ‘primary and secondary qualities’ or Wittgenstein on ‘family resemblance’ to set about their task in any other way, and there is no reason why Marx should not be shown the same respect. The exegesis of his work has, nevertheless, its own distinctively relaxed traditions. The proposal made here would in fact be hard to square with much of what currently passes for discussion of his views on ideology. The standard weakness of this literature is an insensitivity to its subject-matter, a failure to respond to the pressure of its concrete details. The varied ways in which the tendency manifests itself will be documented in the later course of the discussion. It is mentioned here to lend point to the suggestion that in this area a certain dryness may now be in order. Such an emphasis has its familiar risks of scholasticism and the fetishism of the quotation, of being overwhelmed by details or of treating them with a literalness that misses the spirit entirely. But no such fate is inevitable. It may help to bear in mind the rules of method which Gramsci prescribed for himself in this kind of situation. He lays due stress on the importance of what he calls ‘preliminary detailed philological work’ to be carried out ‘with the most scrupulous accuracy, scientific honesty and intellectual loyalty and without any preconceptions, apriorism or parti pris’.[2] But the advice is to be taken in conjunction with the later warning: ‘Search for the Leitmotiv, for the rhythm of the thought as it develops, should be more important than that for single casual affirmations and isolated aphorisms.’[3] The guiding assumption of this discussion is that a sense of the Leitmotiv is best developed out of attention to detail. It must be recognized, however, that unless such a general understanding is achieved all the preliminary detailed work is in vain. Moreover, once established it need not be permanently confined to the range of instances from which it was built up in the first place. Thus, it should be possible to apply it to phenomena of which Marx could have had no experience, to draw out implications he never considered and, with due caution, to use it in exploring the silences and lacunae of the texts. For if the original insight is incapable of this kind of organic development it can have little permanent interest or value.

Such a programme might, of course, be doomed to fail through some defect in the raw material; if, for instance, it should be the case that Marx’s usage is informed by no consistent themes but is irredeemably arbitrary or incoherent. This would be a disappointing conclusion, but there is no need to assume it at the start. Indeed, one might have a rational hope that it will turn out not to be so. His distinctive quality as a thinker lies not in any special taste for abstract theorizing but in the ability to handle masses of detail within a single focus of vision, and to assign particulars unerringly to their place in the light of it. The task of this chapter is to uncover the principle of such judgments for the category of ideology. As soon as one starts to work on it, such misgivings as have been raised tend to vanish. The ‘rhythm’ of his thought in this area turns out to be remarkably insistent and regular, and this, to anticipate a little further, is because it is tuned to the heart-beat of the system as a whole. But enough has been said to indicate the methodological bias of this discussion, and like any such preference it will now have to be vindicated by results.

There are some general features of Marx’s usage which strike one right away. In the first place it may be remarked that the use of the bare substantive ‘ideology’ on its own is quite rare, and where it does occur it has none of the hypostatized solemnity that tends to accompany it in the later literature. This feature is, of course, in keeping with the inexplicit character of his theoretical approach. What is entirely typical is the use of the noun accompanied by a qualifying epithet, such as ‘republican’, ‘German’, ‘Hegelian’ and ‘political’, or in references to, for instance, the ‘ideology of the bourgeoisie’, and that of ‘the political economist’. Equally typical is the adjectival use in which something or other is said to have an ‘ideological’ character. The list of subjects includes ‘expressions’, ‘forms’, ‘phrases’, and ‘conceptions’. We hear of ‘ideological contempt’, of ‘ideological theory’, of ‘the ideological standpoint’, of ‘ideological reflexes and echoes’, of ‘ideological nonsense’, of ‘ideological distortion’, of ‘ideological method’ and so on. Even more distinctive is the frequency of reference to the ‘ideologists’, the actual spokesmen or creators of the ideological forms. Thus, he writes of Napoleon’s ‘scorn of ideologists’, of ‘the Young-Hegelian ideologists’, of ‘the ideological cretins of the bourgeoisie’, of ‘the ideological representative and spokesmen’ (of the petty bourgeoisie and peasantry), of ‘the “ideological” classes, such as government officials, priests, lawyers, soldiers etc.’ and of ‘the capitalist and his ideological representative, the political economist’. For what it is worth, it may be noted that approximately half of all the references to ‘ideology’ and its derivatives fall into this category.

Here, again, more recent Marxist literature presents a contrast, for in influential sections of it the role of the professional ideologist gets comparatively little attention. This glance at Marx’s usage discloses another dimension of the contrast. It suggests that, in line with the etymology, he thinks of the ideological essentially in connection with the ‘products of consciousness’; conceptions, ideas, theories, postulates and systems, and with their ‘expressions’ in language; formulas, names, phrases, manifestoes and so on.. It is a connection which is considerably weakened in some more recent accounts of the subject. These shifts of emphasis are of great significance and will come up for explanation later. The final point to be noted here is that our examples of usage span his intellectual career from The Holy Family (1844) to the Critique of the Gotha Programme (1875).[4] The list suggests, and this would be borne out in a complete survey, that the tone and character of the references to ideology are remarkably homogeneous throughout the period. The treatment of this theme offers little support to claims of dramatic breaks in development, but rather seems to testify to a sustained unity of thought and purpose. Hence if a precise pattern can be detected there is no reason to fear that it will not encompass the field as a whole.

Marx’s interest in the ideological displays, it may be said, a high degree of consistency. The point may be more usefully put by noting that the issue tends to crop up regularly in his writings in a certain determinate context. This may be characterized roughly, but adequately for immediate purposes, as the context of class struggle. Thus, the ideologists are represented as the ‘men of talent’ of classes, the interpreters and champions of their class position. The discussion of particular ideologies, such as the ‘German’ and ‘republican’ varieties, is set firmly against a background of patterns of class dominance and subordination. The ideological standpoint mentioned in the Grundrisse is clearly one which is fixed by the dynamic of antagonistic class relationships. It would be possible to go through the references one by one to establish that when Marx invokes the notion the dimension of class conflict is never far from his thoughts. Nor would any large effort of inference or interpretation be needed to show this: for the most part one could rely on direct textual evidence from the immediate setting of the reference. This kind of consistency is wholly in line with what was said earlier about the quality of his judgment of particular cases. Still, a programme which involved taking each one separately in turn might be unnecessarily tedious. The desired conclusion may be reached more easily by looking at what is usually taken to be a classic text and one, moreover, which rises to a rare, though still modest, level of explicitness on the concept of ideology. In the ‘Preface’ to A Contribution to the Critique of Political Economy Marx speaks of the conflict between material forces and the relations of production, a conflict which the logic of his system enjoins us to see as manifesting itself through class struggle, and goes on to refer to the ‘legal, political, religious, artistic or philosophic – in short, ideological forms in which men become conscious of this conflict and fight it out’.[5] The ideological forms constitute, it seems, the medium of the class struggle in the realm of ideas. This is an important thesis, and so far, at least, the classic status of the ‘Preface’ can hardly be disputed. It is difficult however to progress much further on the strength of its treatment of ideology, which has all the capacity to deceive of the other elements in that seemingly transparent text. The use of ‘ideological’ as shorthand for ‘legal, political, religious, etc.’ may suggest that what is ideological is essentially to be located at a fairly high level of theoretical refinement. The reference to men becoming conscious of the conflict and fighting it out in the ideological forms may suggest that ideology is largely a matter of deliberate polemics informed by awareness of social realities. These implications, if taken seriously, would greatly restrict the scope of the concept, and are impossible to square with Marx’s standard use of it elsewhere. The examples already listed help to show how little attention he pays to such constraints in practice. But it may be useful here to look in more detail at a particular text.

In the analysis of The Class Struggles in France the concept of ideology has an important role, and one which is unquestionably, as it were ‘eponymously’, fixed within the context of class struggle. It is, however, seen as operating there at many different levels of mediation, by no means all of them rarefied. In this connection may be cited the comments on the ‘ideologically disinterested names’ which the privileged interests had to bear in the ministries of Louis Philippe, as compared with the bourgeois republic’s use of ‘the bourgeois proper names of the dominant class interests’.[6] It is an example which, as well as being representative so far as its theoretical weight is concerned, seems to point with particular clarity towards the forces that shape Marx’s concern with the ideological. This suggestion will be taken up later. What should be remarked now is how far the text is from depicting ideology as an instrument for attaining consciousness of the nature of the social conflict. The insurrection of June, 1848, is described as ‘the first great battle ... between the two classes that split modern society’:

It was a fight for the preservation or annihilation of the bourgeois order. The veil that shrouded the republic was torn asunder.

Nevertheless, Marx adds:

The official representatives of French democracy were steeped in republican ideology to such an extent that it was only some weeks later that they began to have an inkling of the significance of the June fight.[7]

So far from men becoming aware of the nature of the conflict through ideology, it is explicitly presented here as a barrier to such awareness. It has a capacity to obscure the true significance of events which is entirely in keeping with the role assigned to it elsewhere by Marx. In The Class Struggles in France ideology is clearly seen as operating in a variety of guises at different levels of consciousness, and as carrying out its historical tasks more or less independently of the state of awareness of individuals or groups. Thus, the text embodies a sense of the complexity of its workings which was to be greatly developed by later Marxists, forming, for instance, a characteristic theme in the work of Gramsci. For the roots of this development in Marx it is to the concrete discussions of contemporary history that one must look, not to the schematic formulations of the 1859 ‘Preface’. Their lapidary effect. is achieved precisely through the smoothing out of complexity. This is an element that it is important to preserve in sharpening our account of the relationship between ideology and class struggle.

It may be best if a sharper version is put forward right away, in a summary fashion, and then developed and defended in the course of the discussion. It may be introduced by noting that the context of class struggle shapes Marx’s conception of ideology in a peculiarly direct way. The factor of significance in that struggle occupies the centre of his field of interest and operates there in an imperialistic style that leaves little room for other sorts of consideration. It is upon this factor that the decision to invoke the notion seems to depend in practice. The issue may be made clearer by considering a central sort of case, the classification of ideas, beliefs and theories as being ‘ideological’. What one is entitled to assert on the basis of his procedure is that when he is dealing with forms of consciousness that have a distinctive role to play in the class struggle he is, in general, content to regard them as having ideological significance on that ground alone. Where he is not concerned with this aspect, or where it is irrelevant, it seems generally not to occur to him to raise the question of the ideological at all. This is to suggest that the tendency of his thought is towards making utility in the class struggle the necessary and sufficient condition for consciousness to be ideological. The defining characteristic of ideological consciousness, one might say, is its tendentiousness in this dimension. The point may be put in terms of a notion whose use in this connection has just been noted, and which is in any case a familiar one in Marx, that of ‘class interests’. To say that forms of. consciousness have a role in the class struggle is to say that they serve the interests of some class or other. Now the general definition implicit in Marx’s practice is that forms of consciousness are ideological if, and only if, they serve class interests. To say this is to make a claim with far-reaching implications which have to be carefully worked out.

As a first step the thesis needs to be further clarified. Marx offers little direct help in trying to give a more extended account, though his practice is, as always, a source of indirect guidance and a control on results: moreover, it provides grounds for at least one general comment. This is that the serving of class interests cannot be a matter of the causal consequences of holding or advocating certain beliefs. Their ideological status cannot depend on what interests are, as a matter of fact, served by their dissemination. Such a view easily leads to absurdity. It would be irrelevant in this connection if, as is sometimes claimed, the publication of Capital actually benefited the bourgeoisie, by drawing its attention to the need for some social engineering. Neither can it be a psychological question of what people are persuaded by in practice. Even if it were true, as is also sometimes said, that the effect of some contemporary ‘Marxist’ theorizing is to alienate the audience’s sympathies from Marx and his ideas, this literature could not be assigned to bourgeois ideology on that ground alone. There may be no need to labour the point. Nevertheless, the error of inferring ideological status from causal efficacy is one to which, in its subtler forms, Marxists and others sometimes fall victim. It is a tendency quite foreign to the spirit of his own work. He is fully alive to the tricks that history plays, to the fact that, as Gramsci puts it, ‘reality produces a wealth of the most bizarre combinations’.[8] Yet he does not generally feel the need to engage in empirical study of such combinations in order to be satisfied that certain ideas belong, say, to bourgeois ideology. This is, one seems entitled to say, a status they enjoy through their being the sort of ideas they are, through some essential, not merely contingent, feature. There must, it seems, be some kind of intelligible inner connection between forms of consciousness and the class interests they serve, and the existence of such a connection is what underlies the non-empirical aspects of Marx’s analysis. The tendentiousness of ideological beliefs lies, one might conclude, in their capacity for ‘internally’ or ‘logically’ serving class interests.

This formula is itself, however, by no means perspicuous. It may be well to ask what can be said in a general way to tease it out, and compare the results with the evidence of Marx’s practice. An obvious step is to suggest that the dimension of value should now be introduced formally into the story. It seems to have the correct, indeed the only possible, logical shape for the task in hand. The function of values, it may be said, is to reach out from the side of consciousness and bridge just the kind of gap with the world we are concerned with here: the existence of this conceptual space is what makes them possible and necessary. The question that then arises is what precisely is to be the role of values in explaining how ideology serves class interests. A simple answer would be that ideological complexes operate by directly incorporating evaluative elements: these are, as it were, the semantic carriers of their class tendency. Thus, they will embody an assessment or grading of, evince a pro or contra attitude towards, states of affairs and human activities; towards, that is, particular patterns of social arrangements and the practices that seek to modify, preserve, strengthen, undermine or transform them. For the interests of classes consist in these states of affairs and in the practices that have them as their objects and raw material: such items are what give the idea substance. The way in which the intelligible inner link is forged may now be a little clearer. The claim is that ideological beliefs serve class interests just by being evaluative of elements constitutive of those interests. This seems to leave one with a straightforward enough view of how ideology works. It may be tested and, if all goes well, fleshed out by considering some examples of Marx’s practice of ideological analysis.

These have to be seen in the light of what has already been noted as the peculiarly concrete and practical character of his interests. Taking the point further it may be said that what tends to dominate all else is a polemical concern with the deficiencies of bourgeois thought: the driving impulse is a desire to unmask the ruling ideas. It is entirely typical that, in realizing it, little notice is taken of the general category of ‘bourgeois ideology’ which has loomed so large in later discussions. Marx’s attention is directed rather to the specific forms it takes in the society of his time. Among these, two particularly well documented cases are the ‘German’ or ‘Hegelian’ ideology on the one hand, and the ideology of the political economist on the other.

The first volume of The German Ideology is subtitled ‘Critique of Modern German Philosophy according to its representatives Feuerbach, Bruno Bauer and Stirner’. At the heart of Marx’s critique of this Young-Hegelian school is a charge of failure to break radically enough with the thought of the master. The whole body of its inquiries, he asserts, ‘has actually sprung from the soil of a definite philosophical system, that of Hegel’, and this dependence is the reason ‘why not one of these modern critics has even attempted a comprehensive criticism of the Hegelian system’.[9] Their dependence finds its most characteristic expression in a continued reliance on an idealist ontology:

The Young Hegelians are in agreement with the Old Hegelians in their belief in the rule of religion, of concepts, of a universal principle in the existing world. Only, the one party attacks this dominion as usurpation, while the other extols it as legitimate.[10]

The radicalism of the Young Hegelians takes the form of a programme for revolt against the rule of the concepts of their elders, a revolution of consciousness ... but a revolution confined to the realm of ideas serves, by implication, to consecrate the existing order of reality, and so their radical pretensions are in Marx’s eyes a sham:

This demand to change consciousness amounts to a demand to interpret reality in another way, i.e., to recognise it by means of another interpretation. The Young-Hegelian ideologists, in spite of their allegedly ‘world-shattering’ statements, are the staunchest conservatives.[11]

At best their position leads, as with Max Stirner, only to the recognition that ‘I, the actual man, do not have to change actuality, which I can only change together with others, but have to change myself in myself.[12] Here, as elsewhere in the work, there are echoes of the ‘Theses on Feuerbach’, written at the same time and as part of the same programme, and much of the argument may be seen as a detailed working out of the case adumbrated there against the philosophers who have merely interpreted the world in different ways instead of changing it. Essentially what these thinkers neglect or misconstrue is the significance of ‘praxis’, that ‘real’, ‘sensuous’, ‘objective’ mode of activity which consists precisely in setting out with others to change actuality. Hence it is that the rebellion proclaimed so eloquently by Stirner means in the end ‘anything you like, except action’.[13]

The intellectual tone and provenance of the world of the political economist may seem remote from the tradition of German idealist philosophy. Yet from the standpoint of ideological analysis there are some striking parallels. In discussing these ‘ideological representatives’ of the bourgeoisie Marx returns again and again to a fundamental point, trenchantly put in The Poverty of Philosophy. It concerns their assumption that ‘present-day relations – the relations of bourgeois production – are natural’. They are ‘the relations in which wealth is created and productive forces developed in conformity with the laws of nature’, and therefore are themselves ‘natural laws independent of the influence of time’, ‘eternal laws which must always govern society’. ‘Thus’, he concludes, ‘there has been history, but there is no longer any’.[14] If bourgeois relations of production are indeed the natural, ahistorical, quintessentially human, social arrangements, then, of course, the praxis that seeks to’ abolish them goes against nature and is doomed to fail. Hence, it appears that the evaluative thrust of these two examples of ideology at work is strangely similar. In each it is directed towards the denigration of praxis, the undermining of the assumption that human beings can influence the course of history by conscious, co-operative action. Taking the two together we may be said to have a diagnosis of one classic strategy of bourgeois ideology. In the course of time Marx’s attention came to be directed increasingly towards the critique of political economy rather than that of idealist philosophy, and this no doubt reflects a general process of development. But here as elsewhere the question of ideology serves to enforce a recognition of deeper continuities, for while the object of the analysis may change, its controlling assumptions and methods remain the same. It may be noted, also, that the examples clearly exhibit his feeling for what is of enduring significance in the capitalist social formation. At any rate their basic insight has been taken up in a number of contemporary analyses of the workings of bourgeois ideology. It is reflected in the thesis that its most characteristic form is technical rationalism, a belief in the omnipotence of technology and a cult of its high priest, the expert. Here too the ideological process works through the assumption that what happens in society depends on forces over which ordinary people can have no control. The natural outcome of such a belief is a kind of fatalism that serves to protect the existing structure of power and wealth.

The discussion of the case-studies has now to be set in the context of the general argument. It has been claimed that, for Marx, ideological forms of consciousness are distinguished by their tendentiousness in the class struggle and that this process of internally serving class interests has to be explained through the mediation of values. The suggestion was made that ideological complexes may be thought of as serving class interests by virtue of containing evaluations of the factors that constitute them. This seems now to be fully borne out by the evidence of his practice. There is no difficulty in identifying the evaluative element in the examples. The ideology of the political economist uses such unmistakably value-laden terms as ‘natural’ and ‘reasonable’ to characterise bourgeois social arrangements. The Young-Hegelian position, for its part, is frankly prescriptive: its message is ‘Let us revolt against this rule of concepts.’[15] In each case there is clearly implied an unfavourable evaluation of the prospects for a praxis rooted in material conditions and aimed at transforming the existing social order. Thus, the examples fit the proposed pattern admirably, and we seem to be confirmed in our view of how ideology works. Their significance is however not yet exhausted. It has been suggested that Marx’s analysis may be taken as laying bare a classic strategy of bourgeois thought and, hence, as having a permanent significance under the conditions of capitalist society. At this point some qualifications have to be entered to avoid a serious risk of misconceiving the status of his insights.

The risk is connected with a weakness endemic in the exegetical literature. Marx’s reticence has left a standing temptation to go for the premature synthesis, the delineation of the category on the strength of a few promising instances. It is important to keep a sense of the real diversity of the material so as to avoid becoming fixated in this way. Hence, one has to be careful not to read too much theoretical significance into the major examples of bourgeois ideology. If one simply bears in mind the substantial differences between them it should at least weaken the urge to insist on the paradigmatic value of either. It is sometimes suggested by commentators over-impressed with the Young-Hegelian case, that all ideology, or all ruling class ideology, necessarily has an abstract, idealist character. Thus, it may be supposed that such a class is naturally driven to divert attention from the material forces at work in society. It must tend to exaggerate the role of ideas so as to encourage the .passive contemplation of their interrelations, or the belief that by changing them one changes reality. This suggestion may well have value in explaining the enduring relevance of certain ideological forms. But as a generalization about how ideology works in all societies it is entirely gratuitous, and, in its trans-historical pretensions, quite foreign to the spirit of Marx’s approach. As an alleged conceptual truth it can only serve as a strait-jacket into which the phenomena are fitted at the cost of much distortion. A definition in idealist terms will not readily accommodate the case of classical English political economy. Moreover, it is out of keeping with the specific tendency of Marx’s thought on various occasions. Thus, for instance, the discussion in The Holy Family might reasonably be taken to show an awareness of the ideological significance of a version of materialism for sections of the bourgeoisie in eighteenth-century France.’[16] More generally, an insistence on the necessarily idealist character of all ideology will severely restrict the explanatory role of the concept. It seems, for instance, to rule out its use in an analysis of Stalinism, where this might otherwise be thought to have considerable value. The definition could only be made to fit such cases if its key terms are robbed of all their specificity; while if this is retained it can only be a device for forcing the phenomena, rather than registering their complexity.

The ideology of the political economist also puts one in touch with enduring habits of thought. It is easy enough to see how the assumption of the permanently valid character of existing arrangements might serve the interests of a ruling class by sapping the rationality of protest at its source. But to inflate this insight into a theoretical necessity would be to mimic the error of the political economists themselves, by abstracting particular situations and their needs out of the flux of history. There seems, in general, no reason why a ruling class should not function perfectly well with a radically historicist outlook, with cyclical or millenarian views of the nature of historical development. It should also be noted that the controlling assumption of political economy can hardly be attributed to the Young Hegelians. Their failing is not that they regard existing conditions as immutable. An important part of what distinguishes them from Hegel is precisely that they give no sign of assuming that history had come to a stop in their own time. Marx’s objection is rather to the assumption that all that is needed to transform reality is a change of consciousness. Thus, it is not their lack of a conception of revolution but rather its idealist character that makes them in practice ‘the greatest conservatives’. They do, after all, attack as usurpation what the Old Hegelians extol as legitimate, and the difference is worth insisting on in some contexts.

Even in political economy this controlling assumption is, in its pure form, only compatible with a good conscience under certain historical conditions. These are associated by Marx with the period in which the bourgeoisie is still a rising class and its struggle with the proletariat is as yet undeveloped. In an ‘Afterword’ to the first volume of Capital he discusses the ‘bourgeois horizon’ of political economy, within which ‘the capitalist regime is looked upon as the absolutely final form of social production, instead of as a passing historical phase of its evolution’.[17] In its classical period, he argues, political economy is able to function within this horizon while retaining a scientific character. Later, when the bourgeoisie has conquered political power and the class struggle intensifies, it has to abandon the air of neutrality and is forced down into the arena:

It was thenceforth no longer a question, whether this theorem or that was true, but whether it was useful to capital or harmful, expedient or inexpedient, politically dangerous or not. In place of disinterested inquirers, there were hired prizefighters; in place of genuine scientific research, the bad conscience and the evil intent of apologetic.[18]

This marks a significant change in the mode of operation of bourgeois ideology, and it reinforces the suggestion that the case-studies embody a pattern that does not obtain universally. To note it is to be reminded of the peculiarly indirect and inferential kind of way in which their results are achieved. On the face of it the arguments are valid against all forms of praxis, against the historical significance of human agency in general. Their censure would seem to fall equally on the organized political activity of the bourgeoisie, on conservative or reactionary attempts to influence the shape of social reality. Of course the overall logic of the position is on the side of the possessing classes, of those who stand to benefit most from inertia. Nevertheless, the strategy demands a degree of boldness or insensibility which may well only be possible for a class still on the ascendant, confident of its historical role and having as yet felt no significant pressure from below. These conditions were met for the bourgeoisie, in England in the period of its classical political economy and in Germany at the time of The German Ideology. When they cease to obtain, bourgeois ideology loses its scientific and metaphysical detachment and comes to grips directly with the challenge of proletarian praxis. Hegelian philosophy does not remain forever the chief ideological resource of the bourgeoisie in Germany, any more than does Ricardian political economy in England.

There are other ways of bringing out the limited significance of the examples of bourgeois ideology considered so far. It is not just that their roots lie in a specific historical situation, but that their scope and content simply fail to exhaust the field of reference of a class ideology. They deal with issues that are admittedly of central importance, general views of the nature of human history and of the conditions of the production of wealth. But in themselves these cannot supply ways of conceptualizing all aspects of the field at a satisfactory level of detail. They need to be supplemented, for instance, when it comes to the question of how ordinary political phenomena are to be understood and evaluated. Here is the province of ‘political ideology’ as such, and in it the issues raised by proletarian praxis cannot so readily be disposed of on general theoretical grounds. The adoption of the standpoint of political ideology seems in itself to involve recognition of a prima facie case for allowing such phenomena a genuine importance in the world. In this sphere at least, the fact of organized political activity by the proletariat presses on the bourgeois ideologist with some urgency and calls for direct treatment. Here also, Marx’s sense of what is truly significant in capitalist society leads to themes of lasting interest.

An article in the Neue Rheinische Zeitung discusses the question, to be taken up later in The Class Struggles in France, of the light shed by the insurrection of June, 1848 on the class contradictions in French society. Marx is concerned with it in relation to the attitude of the newspaper La Réforme:

The Réforme knows no better way of changing and abolishing these contradictions than to disregard their real basis, that is, these very material conditions, and to withdraw into the hazy blue heaven of republican ideology, in other words, into the poetic February period, from which it was violently ejected by the June events. It writes ‘The saddest aspect of these internal dissensions is the obliteration, the loss of the patriotic, national sentiments’, i.e. of just that patriotic and national enthusiasm which enabled both classes to veil their distinct interests, their conditions of life.[19]

It is obvious that republican ideology does not rest its case upon any generalized dismissal of praxis. The tactics are rather to come to grips directly with its proletarian forms and divert them in a particular direction, from class to national issues. The underlying assumption is not that they are doomed to be ineffectual, but that they may succeed all to well in interfering with the pursuit of other goals. The appeal to ‘national sentiments’ is, of course, a standard resource of bourgeois thought, and one whose use was later to be greatly refined and extended. Marx is dealing with a tendency which was only to reach its full development in the next century, with Fascism at its furthest limit. Fascist ideology is, on the face of it, however, far from encouraging a quietist or contemplative attitude to events. In its emphasis on struggle, conflict, the importance of resolution and energy, and of human agency in its organized and disciplined forms, it seems at times like a parody of the Marxist-Leninist idea of praxis. The mention of it here may serve to reinforce the importance of keeping a sense of the flexibility and resourcefulness of bourgeois ideology. Indeed, the ability to do justice to those qualities is, one might suggest, the critical test for any account of ideology in the contemporary world.

It is clear that a pass cannot be achieved by pinning all hope on the ability of notions such as ‘idealism’ or ‘fatalism’ to carry the story along. But a more general conclusion also suggests itself. It is that prospects are poor for any attempt to characterize bourgeois ideology in material terms by delineating a particular content for it, or by insisting on a certain general character for its elements. To take this path is to cast one’s results in an unlikely mould from the start. Where they are significant and not vacuous they seem bound to involve concentrating on a particular segment of the field and shutting one’s eyes to the rest. There have been theorists who have pursued such a course resolutely, but in the end the pressure of all that is left outside is bound to tell. Marx’s conception of bourgeois ideology as a collection of representations whose unity is constituted from the standpoint of bourgeois class interests is subject to no such strictures. It offers a determinate, objective criterion that all candidates have to satisfy. Yet it avoids the risk of fixation by being able to accommodate the most varied material and all the changing needs of the historical situation of the class. Thus, it has an appropriate shape for the task in hand in that it can respect the seemingly endless diversity of the phenomena while supplying their inner principle of organization.

It may advance the discussion to move at this point from issues raised by a particular class ideology to the implications for ideology in general. One way of characterizing what is distinctive in Marx’s view is to say that it represents the concept in rather formal terms, in relative independence of any given content. A feeling may nevertheless persist that the ideological realm must have some more or less determinate shape about which something useful can be said. The concept can hardly be so purely formal as to be unable to resist any imputed subject-matter, and a grasp of its constitutive principle should allow some legislation as to what may come within its scope. It will be convenient to pursue this suggestion, for the moment, in relation to the model that dominates Marx’s practice, the view of ideology as working through evaluations of the constituents of class interests. It seems obvious that large areas of intellectual production are bound to prove resistant to treatment along such lines. This will be true, to take a particularly important case, of the propositions and theories of the natural sciences. What needs to be said about them here seems quite straightforward. These branches of knowledge do not have the human social world as their object and must surely fail to possess the kind of evaluative significance that is in question. It is indeed hard to see how the claims of the geologist or astronomer could be internally related to class interests, as that relationship has been conceived up to now. The primary mode of interpretation that Marx gave to his thesis seems to compel a recognition of the ideological neutrality of the natural sciences. Such a consequence is, it may be said, reflected in his writings: these subjects are conspicuously absent from their various lists of the forms of ideological consciousness. The sense of a contrast or opposition between the scientific and the ideological has figured prominently, though often in a mystified form, in recent Marxist literature, and will have to be looked at with some attention later. For present purposes it is enough to note the measure of justification it can claim in Marx’s work. This consists in the fact that his basic method of analysis tends to exclude the possibility that the natural sciences could have the kind of tendentiousness that is required. However, even within the guiding assumptions of that method, the situation is rather more complicated than has been suggested so far, and it is necessary to muddy the waters a little before going on to consider any wider possibilities.

The net effect of the qualifications is to warn against treating science as an undifferentiated entity to which ideology stands in abstract opposition. The first arises from the simple observation that the subject-matter of the branches of natural science exhibits varying degrees of remoteness from the concerns that define the ideological sphere, the structural antagonisms of human societies. Thus, some have more interest for the professional ideologist than others: they can more readily be drawn on for the descriptive and explanatory material that any serious attempt to render an evaluation plausible has to employ. The claims they make may be combined with straightforwardly tendentious material and incorporated within a complex that is ideological in the way depicted above. There is an obvious distinction to be drawn in this respect between those branches of science that include the consideration of man as a natural entity and those confined to the non-human world. Significantly, it is in connection with the former that questions about the ideological status of natural science tend to arise most vividly; as is shown in, for instance, the debates over the reception of the ideas of Darwin and Lysenko. These debates may serve to illustrate another kind of complication. It is connected with the possibility that scientific claims may involve covert evaluations which have ideological relevance. This may happen if, for instance, key terms in a theory have an element of the appropriate kind of force. Such terms as ‘evolution’, ‘natural selection’ or ‘intelligence’ may be allowed to retain, in addition to their official meaning, favourable associations from non-technical usage. The possibilities for equivocation that result may have considerable ideological significance in the right circumstances. It is a phenomenon that gets little attention in Marx’s practice, with its concentration on material whose evaluative component is overt and unmistakable. The significant cases in the contemporary world are less likely to wear their hearts on their sleeves, especially in a field such as science where the professional ethos includes a commitment to ideals of ‘value-freedom’. The effect of this is to ensure, if not innocence, at least that traces of guilt are well hidden. It is an important and difficult task of ideological analysis to bring such secrets to light.

At this point the course of the discussion needs to be reviewed. It has been argued that Marx’s practice of inquiry through the pursuit of evaluations creates a presumption of the ideological irrelevance of the natural sciences. Admittedly, this has to be set in the light of a recognition that some branches at least lend themselves to reinforcement for ideological purposes, and that significant evaluations may be hidden in seemingly innocuous places. The effect of these concessions may be to soften the conclusion that one has to deal with sheer externality and indifference, but they do not touch its substance. It remains the case that in their typical reaches the natural sciences can have no internal connection with the defence of class interests. This is perhaps all that needs to be said. But it is possible to wonder whether such an account does justice to their true ideological potential, as suggested by, for instance, their role in the intellectual structures of late capitalism. A sense of their massive cultural significance in such societies must at least encourage one to leave the issue open a bit longer. If any further progress is to be made we shall have to retrace our line of thought to Marx’s original insight, and ask whether it may not be possible to tease out its implications in some other way, to give it an alternative interpretation for practice. The insight is that ideology is the medium through which the class struggle is conducted in theory. The distinguishing feature of its forms of consciousness is that they participate in that struggle. That is to say that unless ideas have some bearing on questions of the legitimacy of the social arrangements of class society, there could be no point in labelling them ‘ideological’. To depict the situation in this way is obviously to claim an indispensable role for values. But it may be that this can be conceived of along lines other than those implicit in the usual practice of Marx himself. It is at this point that his insight may be susceptible to the kind of organic development mentioned earlier. An attempt must now be made to show a possible line of such development, and the first step is to confirm that it is one that really can claim some roots in the texts.

The clearest suggestion in Marx of an alternative model for the ideological process is to be found in his treatment of religion. A convenient source is the section on ‘The Fetishism of Commodities’ in the first volume of Capital. Its main concern is to explicate the way in which, under the conditions of commodity production, ‘a definite social relation between men ... assumes, in their eyes, the fantastic form of a relation between things’.[20] In pursuing it, this suggestion is made:

In order ... to find an analogy, we must have recourse to the mist-enveloped regions of the religious world. In that world the productions of the human brain appear as independent beings endowed with life, and entering into relation both with one another and the human race. So it is in the world of commodities with the products of men’s hands.[21]

A little further on the idea of an analogy between the religious and social worlds is sharpened by reference to particular cases:

The religious world is but the reflex of the real world. And for a society based upon the production of commodities, in which the producers in general enter into social relations with one another by treating their products as commodities and values, whereby they reduce their individual private labour to the standard of homogeneous human labour – for such a society, Christianity with its cultus of abstract man, more especially in its bourgeois developments, Protestantism, Deism, etc., is the most fitting form of religion.[22]

The idea is then applied to the ‘ancient social organisms of production’ which ‘can arise and exist only when the development of the productive power of labour has not risen beyond a low stage, and when, therefore, the social relations within the sphere of material life, between man and man, and between man and Nature, are correspondingly narrow’. ‘This narrowness’, it is claimed, ‘is reflected in the ancient worship of Nature, and in the other elements of the popular religions.’[23] The consistent use of the terminology of ‘reflexes’ and ‘analogies’, of what ‘fits’ or ‘corresponds’, should be allowed its due weight here. Marx is pointing to the possibility that religious conceptions may mirror or duplicate the forms of the social world, with each distinctive set projecting its own image onto an other-worldly screen. The scope of such a possibility clearly extends well beyond the ideological sphere. Here, as always, one has to resist the temptation to allow the specificity of his conception, its precise identity within the theory of class struggle, to be dissolved. It must be remembered that he was prepared to speak of the ideological only in so far as the context also allows for the idea of stratification by classes. Even within the strict terms of his conception one might, of course, wish to allow ideological significance to Christianity ‘in its bourgeois developments’, and the mechanism of this significance needs to be accounted for. Nevertheless, our present concern is not with distinguishing what is of relevance to ideology among the varieties of religious belief. It is rather with the possibility that religion in general may provide a vital clue, perhaps even a kind of paradigm, for the understanding of an important ideological process. The model it adumbrates is one in which the effect is achieved not through issuing evaluations but through the construction of analogues. It is interesting here that Marx should wish to insist on the importance of the ‘religious reflex’ in connection with the ‘primitive tribal community’. For the mode of analogy is often held to be characteristic of ‘primitive’ thought, and it is to the writings of anthropologists that one most readily turns for help in clarifying and developing the theme. A particularly rich source is provided by the work of Claude Lévi-Strauss .[24]

The issues traditionally subsumed under the heading of ‘totemism’ arise from the tendency to connect natural species and human groups. The problem: ‘how may it be explained that social groups, or segments of society, should be distinguished from each other by the association of each with a particular natural species?’ is, according to Lévi-Strauss, ‘the very problem of totemism’.[25] It is necessary, he insists, to reject any attempt at functional or utilitarian solutions of it. In formulating totemic relationships ‘the mind allows itself to be guided by a theoretical rather than by a practical aim’.[26] Natural species are chosen not because they are ‘good to eat’, but because they are ‘good to think’.[27] Moreover, the kind of thinking in which they are involved exemplifies a universal pattern. It testifies to the conclusion that ‘In every one of its practical undertakings, anthropology... does no more than assert a homology of structure between human thought in action and the human object to which it is applied’.[28] It is to this notion of ‘homology of structure’ that we must now look in seeking to develop our alternative working model for ideology.

A ‘binary opposition’ affords, as Lévi-Strauss remarks, ‘the simplest possible example of a system’.[29] and the workings of ‘a principle consisting of the union of opposites’ are allowed the largest significance in his thought.[30] This is to be justified in virtue of a supposed natural tendency of the human mind to operate with a logic of binary concepts: such a logic ‘of oppositions and correlations, exclusions and inclusions, compatibilities and incompatibilities’ is like ‘the least common denominator of all thought’. It is ‘an original logic, a direct expression of the structure of the mind ...’.[31] The phenomenon of ‘Australian dualism’ offers a good illustration of its operation in a particular case. Some Australian societies, it appears, are divided into moieties which function as totemic groups. This arrangement is the basis for a dualism which, according to Lévi-Strauss, ‘is extended to the whole of nature’, so that, ‘theoretically at least, all beings and phenomena are divided between the two moieties ...’.[32] Thus, ‘the most constant characteristic’ of the moieties ‘lies in their connection with totemism through the bipartition of the universe into two categories’.[33] Such a system reveals with particular clarity the features that concern the present discussion. But matters are not significantly different from this standpoint even where the moiety division does not obtain. Thus one finds that under the conditions of ‘clan totemism’ also:

All beings, things, and natural phenomena are comprised in a veritable system. The structure of the universe reproduces that of society.[34]

The implications of all this for our theme are easy enough to draw. Lévi-Strauss explicitly represents himself as concerned with the problem of explaining how man came ‘to use the diversity of species as conceptual support for social differentiation’.[35] Here is essentially the very problem of ideology too, that of explaining how theory underwrites the class structure. His answer is based on ‘the postulate of a homology between two systems of differences, one of which occurs in nature and the other in culture’.[36] It is surely to be regarded as a primary and elemental mode of legitimation, involving as it does a spontaneous, indeed inevitable, recourse of ‘savage thought’: men seek real diversity in the natural order as it is ‘the only objective model on which they can draw’.[37] Thus we are offered the most perspicuous image of the process we seek to explore. It is one in which the structure of the universe so reproduces that of society that wherever human beings look the forms of their culture are repeated over and over. The legitimacy of the forms, the sense of their rightness, rests on conformity to the fundamental patterns of meaning that have been discerned in experience. No larger authority could be claimed. If one had to formulate the lessons enforced by the contemplation of these structures the result would not fall naturally into the shape of an evaluation. It seems to require some such locution as: ‘This is how things are’; the formula of discourse concerned with what is, rather than what should be, the case.[38] In such a manner one might hope to capture the essential conviction that the social arrangements are grounded in, and themselves exhibit, the character of reality itself. It is proper to speak of a process of legitimation in this connection, and hence to look here for a way of conceiving of the workings of ideology. It will, however, be a model that operates not ‘semantically’ through the incorporation of evaluative meaning but, as it were, ‘syntactically’ through analogies between systems. A large range of possibilities now opens up for inquiry, and there is distinguished work one can draw on to show something of them.

The issues raised by the relationship between religion and society form a major preoccupation with Max Weber. The notion of ‘elective affinity’ seems to promise something in common with the kind of resemblance we have been discussing and it is, according to a standard commentary, the ‘decisive conception by which Weber relates ideas and interests’.[39] As this relation is our basic concern the conception may deserve a closer look. The Protestant Ethic and the Spirit of Capitalism sets out to investigate ‘whether and at what points certain “elective affinities” between forms of religious belief and practical ethics can be worked out’.[40] As this formulation suggests, Weber’s interest is in mapping connections within the realm of ideas rather than, as in the ordinary practice of ideological inquiry, with moving backwards and forwards between that realm and concrete historical situations. This fact, however, need not rob the discussion of all its relevance, and, if we are fortunate, may even serve in the end to enlarge our sense of what ideological inquiry could involve. In his attempt to work out the affinities, Calvinism and more particularly the doctrine of predestination have a special place. He argues that for ordinary believers the vital question to which the doctrine gave rise was ‘How can I be sure of being among the elect?’, and so the search for proofs of salvation came to be central to religious life. The answer was found in the idea of the ‘calling’ which implied a practical asceticism embracing all aspects of thought and behaviour. In this lies the key to the main line of affinity. The ideal of the rational organization of religious life in pursuit of signs of grace is paralleled by the ideal of the rational organization of economic life in pursuit of profit, and this latter is taken to be the hallmark of the spirit of capitalism.[41] Thus, the affinity is carried by an element that is ‘formal’ in the sense of implying no particular restriction on the content of the ideas it connects. This is the conception of the systematic disposition of all the details of a process in the light of a supreme goal. The reliance on such formal links is the common element of ‘elective affinities’ and ‘homologies of structure’. The significant difference between them from the standpoint of the present discussion is that Weber is not offering a device for constituting the ideological status of ideas by fixing their social correlates, but one for connecting elements within the sphere of the ideologically given. For ‘the spirit of capitalism’ loses little if it is rendered simply as ‘bourgeois ideology’. It finds expression in the specification and prescription of the classic bourgeois way of life, sustained by the virtues of prudence, calculation and abstinence. Clearly, this mode of consciousness is ideological in the way familiar from Marx’s examples: it is evaluative of practices constitutive of class interests. What Weber’s discussion points to is the possibility that such an ideology may in its turn be underpinned through affinity with some more fundamental and comprehensive set of ideas. Putting its moral in another way, one may say that it shows how beliefs which seem purely spiritual, indeed eschatological, in character may achieve ideological significance through affinity with a complex of appropriate evaluations. It is obvious that many variations are possible on these themes. The two ‘models’ so far distinguished may be combined in other ways so as to bring fresh dimensions of thought within the ambit of the ideological. This discussion has merely tried to illustrate some of the possibilities. It does in addition serve to suggest that a full-scale study would reveal a need to rethink traditional views of the main antipathies and allegiances in the field. It is already clear that the conventional tendency to contrast Weber’s treatment of the relationship between consciousness and social reality with that of Marx needs to be qualified. At least there is nothing in the account of the Protestant ethic that is incompatible with the practice of Marxist ideological analysis. On the contrary, the effect of considering the two together is to emphasize the scope and fertility of Marx’s insight. It testifies to the extent to which the conception of ideology shares in the potency of his work as a source of what is ‘good to think’.

This part of the argument may be concluded with a more straightforward illustration of the ‘syntactic’ mode from a writer consciously concerned with questions of ideology in relation to Marxist tradition. A central theme of Lucien Goldmann’s The Hidden God is ‘the link between the economic and social position of the officiers of the ancien régime and the ideology of Jansenism’. The effective reality of their position was that they were ‘dependent upon an absolute monarchy which they disliked intensely, but which had no means of satisfying their demands by any reforms conceivable at that time’. It was, writes Goldmann, ‘an eminently paradoxical situation – and one which, in. my view, provides the infrastructure for the tragic paradox of Phèdre and of the Pensées – where they were strongly opposed to a form of government which they could not try to destroy or even to alter in any radical manner’.[42] This tragic quality finds its fullest expression in a ‘dual attitude’ to the world:

... tragedy believes neither that the world can be changed and authentic values realised within the framework it provides nor that it can simply be left behind while man seeks refuge in the city of God. This is why tragic man cannot try to spend his wealth or fulfil his duties in the world ‘we]]’, nor pass over these dudes and abandon his wealth completely. Here, as elsewhere, tragic man can find only one valid attitude: that of saying both ‘Yes’ and ‘No’, of being in the world but not of the world ...[43]

We are presented here with a relationship whose terms, general ideas and the position of a social group, are closer than in the previous example to the standard requirements of ideological inquiry. Moreover, it is clear that the primary ideological effect in this case is achieved not in virtue of the power of ideas to evaluate reality, but in virtue of their power to reflect it by repetition of formal elements. The link between the terms is ‘formal’ in the same sense as before: it is susceptible to an indefinite variety of concrete manifestations. It is constituted by the factor of ‘paradox’, a versatile device capable of yielding the sustaining principle of a system and of permeating its details. The tragic vision insists on both the ‘Yes’ and the ‘No’, and in doing so re-enacts and universalizes the dilemma of a group held fast in a social world in which it is incapable of achieving any authentic mode of action. This is perhaps a kind of limiting case for the notion of group interests. Nevertheless, it is still possible to speak of the legitimation of a predicament, one whose ineluctability is mirrored in, and guaranteed by, the nature of human experience in general, as revealed in tragic thought. Thus, once more, the universe is made to resound to the tune of the local and time-bound. Seen in this perspective, the process by which conceptual support is secured in the ideology of Jansenism does not essentially differ from that of the totemism of Lévi-Strauss’ Australians. Such a conclusion is only made the more vivid if one notes the intriguing similarities at the level of substantive characteristics; in particular, the shared dualism and obsession with a logic of opposites.

The case of Jansenism should be allowed to add its weight to the lessons of the preceding discussion. Our second model works through formal analogies which will, in its significant instances, be complex enough to sustain claims of structural resemblance. It may now be suggested that these resemblances will characteristically have something of a cosmic flavour. This mode of legitimation works best where it manages to inscribe the structures of the social situation in the forms of the universe. In that way it ensures that their repetition will be inexorable enough to generate all the authority required. Religion can hardly be considered a serious contender to provide the main cosmological support of modern industrialized societies. The obvious alternative is science and so, at this point, the issue of its ideological status seems to require re-opening. Before doing so, however, some matters of an epistemological kind should, for the sake of clarity, be got out of the way. Epistemology represents one of the two major dimensions in which it is convenient to consider the development of the concept of ideology in Marxism after Marx; the other being that of general social theory. Neither line of development could be said to flow naturally from their common starting-point, and neither can be taken far without beginning to impose demands it is ill-equipped to sustain. Together they constitute a kind of smoke-screen laid down between the contemporary observer and that original position. As part of our efforts to dissipate it the demands of social theory will form the subject of the next chapter. After that the discussion will turn to the epistemological dimension, and should then be in a position to take up again the question of the relationship between ideology and science.


1. Selections from the Prison Notebooks of Antonio Gramsci, edited and translated by Q. Hoare and G. Nowell Smith, London, 1971, (hereafter referred to as SPN), p. 382.

2. Loc. cit.

3. SPN, pp. 383-84.

4. It may be helpful to cite some sources for the examples in this paragraph:

‘republican ideology’, K. Marx, The Class Struggles in France 1848-1850, Moscow, 1972, (hereafter referred to as CSF), p. 51.

‘Hegelian ideology’, K. Marx and F. Engels, The German Ideology, London, 1965, (hereafter referred to as G I), p. 199.

‘political ideology’, GI, p. 40. ‘ideology of the bourgeoisie’, GI, p. 194.

‘his (the political economists’) ideology’ K. Marx, Capital, Vol (i), London, 1974 (hereafter referred to as Cap(i)), p. 716.

‘ideological expression’, GI, p. 190.

‘ideological forms’. K. Marx, A Contribution to the Critique of Political Economy, Moscow, 1970, (hereafter referred to as CCPE), p. 21.

‘ideological phrases’, GI, p. 579.

‘ideological conceptions’, Cap(i),p. 352, n. 2. ‘ideological contempt’, GI, p. 336.

‘ideological theory’, GI, p. 580.

‘the ideological stand point’, K. Marx, Grundrisse, London, 1973 p. 164.

‘ideological reflexes and echoes’, GI, p. 38.

‘ideological nonsense’, K. Marx, Critique of the Gotha Programme, Moscow, 197 1, p. 18.

‘ideological distortion’, GI, p. 474. ‘ideological method’, GI, p. 514.

Napoleon’s ‘scorn of ideologists’, K. Marx and F. Engels, The Holy Family, Moscow, 1975, (hereafter referred to as HF), p. 146. ‘the Young Hegelian ideologists’, GI, p. 30. ‘the ideological cretins of the bourgeoisie’, K. Marx and F. Engels. Articles from the Neue Rheinische Zeitung 1848-49, Moscow, 1972, (hereafter referred to as AN RZ), p. 189. ‘the ideological representatives and spokesmen’, CSF, p. 28. ‘the “ideological” classes’, Cap(i), p. 420. ‘the capitalist and his ideological representative’, Cap (i), p. 537, (or simply ‘the capitalist and his ideologist’, der Kapitalist und sein Ideolog. see K. Marx-F. Engels, Werke, Berlin, 1956ff., Vol 23, p. 598.). ‘the abstract ideas of ideology’, GI, p. 260. ‘ideological postulate’, GI, p. 5 17. ‘ideological system’, K. Marx, The Poverty of Philosophy, Moscow, 1955, (hereafter referred to as PP), p. 96. ‘ideological formula’, CSF, p. 102. ‘ideologically disinterested names’. CSF, p. 103. ‘ideological manifestoes’, K. Marx and F. Engels, Selected Correspondence, Moscow, n.d., (hereafter referred to as M ESC), p. 69.

5. CCPE, p.21.

6. CSF. p. 103.

7. CSF, pp. 50-51.

8. SPN, p, 200.

9. GI, p. 29.

10. GI, p. 30.

11. GI, p. 30.

12. GI, p. 23 1.

13. GI, p. 429.

14. PP, p. 105.

15. See, e.g., GI, p. 23.

16. HF, Ch. 6, Section 3(d).

17. Cap(i), p. 24.

18. Cap(i), p. 25.

19. AN RZ, p. 142.

20. Cap(i), p. 77.

21. Loc. cit.

22. Cap(i), p. 83.

23. Cap(i), pp. 83-84.

24. On the general significance of analogy see, e.g., The Savage Mind, London, 1972, (hereafter referred to as S M), p. 263. The same point is made in M. Godelier, Perspectives in Marxist Anthropology, Cambridge, 1977. p. 182: ‘Analogy is the general principle organising the representation of the world in and through primitive thinking.’ This part of Godelier’s work is an illuminating discussion of the lessons of anthropology for ideological analysis. It is so in spite of his conforming to a definition of ideology as ‘the sphere of illusory representations of the real’, (p. 18 1). On this issue see below, Ch. 3.

25. C. Lévi-Strauss, Totemism, London, 1962, (hereafter referred to as Tot), p. 85.

26. Tot, p. 63.

27. Tot, p. 89.

28. Tot, p. 9 1.

29. SM, p. 161.

30. Tot, p. 88.

31. Tot, p. 90.

32. Tot, p. 40.

33. Tot, p.41.

34. Tot, p. 42.

35. Tot, p. 101.

36. SM, p. 115.

37. SM, p. 123.

38. It is, of course, Wittgenstein’s ‘general form of propositions’, Tractatus Logico -Philosophicus 4.5. See, e.g., translation by D. F. Pears and B. F. McGuinness, London, 1961, (hereafter referred to as TLP), p. 70 and p. 71.

39. From Max Weber: Essays in Sociology, translated, edited and with an introduction by H. H. Gerth and C. Wright Mills, London, 1948, p. 62.

40. M. Weber, Gesammelte Aufsätze zur Religionssoziologie, Vol(i), Tübingen, 1920, p. 83. The translation here follows that of Talcott Parsons, in The Protestant Ethic and the Spirit of Capitalism, New York, 1958, (hereafter referred to as PESP), p. 91; except that Parsons renders Wahlverwandschaften, (‘elective affinities’), as ‘correlations’ and, in the next sentence, as ‘relationships’.

41. PESP, e.g., p. 64.

42. L. Goldmann, The Hidden God, London, 1964, (hereafter referred to as HG), p. 120.

43. HG, p. 50.