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Browsing by Subject "Psychoanalysis"

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  • Hiltunen, Juri (2020)
    By utilizing the psychoanalytic theory of Jacques Lacan, Slavoj Žižek adds an analysis of unconscious desire to the theory of ideology. By analyzing the terrain of unconsciously structured desires, Žižek attempts to bring the concept of ideology back into contemporary debates and argue that people in fact more ideological than it seems. This thesis analyzes Žižek’s theory of ideology and contains a critical account on it. The aims of this thesis are threefold. Firstly, this thesis contains an analytical framework for analyzing Žižek’s theory of ideology. Secondly, this thesis introduces Žižek’s theory of ideology in a clear manner by employing multiple everyday examples and by minimizing the number of technical concepts. Thirdly, this thesis provides a critical evaluation on his account of ideology criticism in his theory of ideology. In the first main chapter, the framework for analyzing theories of ideology is introduced. The chapter argues that ideologies in general can be analyzed by asking five different questions, which are 1. what is ideology, 2. is ideology good or bad, 3. who is ideological, 4. how and why do ideologies cause things, and 5. what is ideology’s context. This framework is combined from various introductory works on ideology and provides a roadmap where different theories of ideology can be placed on, Žižek’s theory included. This is done in order to analyze Žižek’s theory of ideology in more lucid manner than usually conducted in the commentary literature. In the second main chapter, Žižek’s theory of ideology is introduced. According to Žižek, ideology is an illusion of the completeness of the big Other that takes place in subject’s unconsciously structured fantasies. The main bulk of the chapter unpacks this technical-sounding definition. At the end of the second main chapter, the analysis returns to the framework of ideology analysis laid down in the first chapter and places Žižek’s theory of ideology within this framework in order to summarize his theory of ideology in a condensed, clear, and analytical fashion. The third critical chapter provides an evaluation on the question if Žižek’s theory constitutes a credible critical theory of ideology. The novelty of the chapter is the systematization of criticisms against his immanent account of ideology critique. On the one hand, his theory of ideology strives to set up a possibility of immanent critique of ideology; on the other hand, his theory does not fulfill the criteria required for it. This chapter elaborates on three criteria of immanent critique and argues that Žižek fails all three criteria because of three reasons. Firstly, his theory lacks a robust epistemological justification. Secondly, his theory strikes as a self-undermining theory. Thirdly, he does not provide any normative criterion why some ideologies would be better than others. Lastly, the thesis suggests a possible Žižekian answer to the criticisms and points out a direction for future research.