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ENGL104 Lecture Notes - Paul De Man, Richard Hoggart, Jacques Derrida

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Michael Hancock

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Ideological Criticism
2:01 PM
Interested in rhetoric for what it suggests about beliefs and values
Look beyond surface structure to discover the beliefs, values and assumptions it suggests
Ideology is a pattern of beliefs that determines a group's interpretations of some aspect of the world
Beliefs reflect a group's fundamental social, economic, political or cultural interests
Primary components are evaluative beliefs about which there are possible alternative judgements
Ideological criticism is rooted in basic conceptualisations about ideologies and how they function.
Primary idea that multiple ideologies exist in any culture and have the potential to be manifest in
rhetorical artefacts
Hegemony is privileging of one group over others. Constitutes a kind of social control.
When an ideology become hegemonic certain interests are served by it more than others, supports
the interests of those with more power
o Also accumulates the symbolic power to classify the world for others. Dominant ideology
controls what people see as obvious by establishing the norm
o Provides a sense that things are the way they should be
To maintain dominance, hegemonic ideology must be renewed, reinforced and continually defended
through use of rhetorical strategies and practices. Resistance is muted or contained, impact is
Structuralism informs ideological criticism, structuralism being a series of projects in which
linguistics is used as a model for attempts to develop the 'grammars' of systems such as myths,
novels and genres.
Semiotics and semiology: science of signs. Developed by Ferdinand de Saussure and Charles Sanders
o Semiotics is a systematic attempt to understand what signs are and how they function
o Signs are defined as units that can be taken as substitutes for something else
Marxism also an influence. Is a way on analysing cultural products in terms of the social and
economic practices and institutions that produce them.
o Material conditions interact with and influence the symbols by which groups make sense of
their worlds
Post-structuralism, closely associated with Jacques Derrida and Paul de Man
o Purpose is to deconstruct self evidence of central concepts. Directed to the questioning of
Post-modernism, based on the notion that our culture has moved into a new phase that follows
o Society has been transformed by media and technology
Cultural studies focused around the idea that relations of power within a society are embedded in
and reproduced through cultural creation
o Seek to uncover oppressive relations and the forces available that have the potential to lead
to liberation or emancipation
o Dates to Birmingham Centre for Contemporary Cultural Studies in Great Britain founded in
1964 by Richard Hoggart
o Culture here consists of everyday discursive practices which embody and construct a culture's
Articulation as a theory and critical method contribute to ideological criticism
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