Skip to main content
Login | Suomeksi | På svenska | In English

Hygiene as ideology : a critical look into hygiene as a tool of oppression

Show simple item record 2022-01-20T12:49:41Z 2022-01-20T12:49:41Z 2022-01-20
dc.title Hygiene as ideology : a critical look into hygiene as a tool of oppression en
ethesis.faculty Valtiotieteellinen tiedekunta fi
ethesis.faculty Faculty of Social Sciences en
ethesis.faculty Statsvetenskapliga fakulteten sv
ethesis.faculty.URI Helsingin yliopisto fi University of Helsinki en Helsingfors universitet sv
dct.creator Huotari, Edna
dct.issued 2022
dct.abstract Hygiene as a phenomenon is constantly present in our lives but it is rarely questioned. This thesis explores the concept of hygiene as a large-scale, social phenomenon and as a tool of oppression. My approach stems from the tradition of critical theory, and therefore in this thesis I define hygiene as form of ideology and employ ideology critique to criticise it. I argue that hygiene is a form of abjection meaning that it is a tool to create boundaries between members of a certain group and others. Additionally, hygiene functions as a positive technology of power, since its practice is connected to striving towards the ideal of normalcy and it is enforced by individuals repeating hygienic practices. Hygiene creates hierarchies between different groups of people, because it categorizes some groups as cleaner or healthier than others. These categories have moral and political dimensions and therefore hygiene can create oppressive structures. To define hygiene as a form of ideology, I explore the discussion concerning the different definitions of ideology. Within my framework of critical theory, ideology is always something pejorative. I divide the main challenges that one faces when defining ideology into two: the normative and the epistemic challenges. The normative challenge asks why we should be concerned with ideology from a normative point of view: How is it harmful for us? The epistemic challenge is concerned with the falsity of ideology and the possibility of gaining knowledge, if ideology is something that can cloud our epistemic judgement. I argue that a solution to these challenges can be found in the definition of ideology formulated by Theodor W. Adorno. This definition claims that ideology is a form of identity thinking: A system where we falsely think that we are perceiving objects as they are. This is never the case, since our way of thinking is conceptual and therefore we always see things through concepts. Ideology as identity thinking creates concepts affected by our current economic structure. We falsely assume that they are accurately describing the world. This limits our view of what is and what could be. The solution to this is negative dialectics, a system of critique which contrasts the potential of concepts with how they are in the world. Through the negation of our conditions and their ideal concepts, we can see objects as constellations: as things constructed from pieces of history, societal and economic structures etc. From this perspective we can critique our current conditions. The main conclusion of the thesis is that hygiene can be used as a tool of oppression because it is a form of ideology. Ideology as identity thinking describes hygiene successfully, because hygiene functions through identifying particulars under its concepts. This can be oppressive since some of its concepts, like unhealthy, dirty and so on, are derogatory and therefore create hierarchies between groups of people. Because hygiene is a form of ideology, i.e. a form of identity thinking, negative dialectics should be used to critique and change its oppressive forms. en
dct.subject kriittinen teoria fi
dct.subject poliittinen filosofia fi
dct.subject hygienia fi
dct.subject ideologia fi
ethesis.language englanti fi
ethesis.language English en
ethesis.language engelska sv
ethesis.supervisor Tiisala, Tuomo
ethesis.thesistype pro gradu -tutkielmat fi
ethesis.thesistype master's thesis en
ethesis.thesistype pro gradu-avhandlingar sv
dct.identifier.ethesis E-thesisID:a8bcf88f-00a0-445a-87f8-ed7f4eea0e15
dct.subject.YSOFI kriittinen teoria fi
dct.subject.YSOFI poliittinen filosofia fi
dct.subject.YSOFI hygienia fi
dct.subject.YSOFI ideologiat fi
dct.subject.YSOFI käytännöllinen filosofia fi
ethesis-internal.timestamp.reviewStep 2021-12-10 13:18:30:346
dct.identifier.urn URN:NBN:fi:hulib-202201201044
dct.alternative Hygienia ideologiana : kriittinen katsaus ideologiaan sorron välineenä fi
ethesis.facultystudyline Käytännöllinen filosofia fi
ethesis.facultystudyline Practical Philosophy en
ethesis.facultystudyline Praktisk filosofi sv
ethesis.mastersdegreeprogram Filosofian maisteriohjelma fi
ethesis.mastersdegreeprogram Master's Programme in Philosophy en
ethesis.mastersdegreeprogram Magisterprogrammet i filosofi sv

Files in this item

Files Size Format View
Huotari_Edna_Hygiene-as-Ideology_2021.pdf 519.4Kb PDF

This item appears in the following Collection(s)

Show simple item record