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Ideology Vs. Discourse

July 9, 2009

Here’s more from Bruce Lincoln on the use of the concepts of “ideology” and “discourse” (from the same article I quoted yesterday):

[H]owever one defines [ideology and discourse], there are aspects of each I find appealing. I still employ both, with a tension between them that I find productive and worth preserving, but which can also produce incoherence or contradiction. I’ve tolerated these because I value both Marxist (esp. Gramscian) and Nietzschean (esp. Foucauldian) perspectives, although on the whole I’m more sympathetic to the former. But I probably need to do more reading and give further thought to the matter. What I particularly like about “ideology” is its insistence on the interested nature of speech and its attention to the way material interests condition the production, circulation, and reception of speech acts that encode and advance such interests. What appeals to me about “discourse” is its recognition that speech possesses constitutive power such that certain signifiers can—and do—conjure that of which they speak in the collective consciousness of those among whom they circulate. These are not the same point, nor are the two wrestling with precisely the same kind of materials or issues. But I do think they both capture important aspects of religion, and they ought not be irreconciliable.

I couldn’t have said it better myself!

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