ON « IDEOLOGY » AND POST-STRUCTURALISM

Why did post-structuralism cease to make use of the concept of ideology? This question is raised in Bernard Stiegler’s new book PHARMACOLOGIE DU FRONT NATIONAL. My understanding of these thinkers (Deleuze, Lyotard, Foucault, Derrida) is that while they may not make use of the word « ideology », the concept is there nonetheless but in a reconfigured problematic. I argue that Foucault wanted to free himself, and us, of Althusser’s idea of science, and I would add free us of demarcationist and structuralist ideas of science. Expressed paradoxically, there is something « ideological » or « meatphysical » in how the separation between science and ideology is conceived, and so in our concept of science itself.This idea has gained substance and received more explicit attention thanks to work in the sociology of science (David Bloor, Bruno Latour, Andrew Pickering). Given the epistemological inadequacy of the metaphysical vision of science and also given the adverse political consequences of such a vision Foucault and others such as Derrida and Deleuze and Lyotard tried to look at epistemological and ideological formations from the outside, and turned to less formal notions such as micro-political dispositifs ofpower relations and assemblages of enunciation and desire. This outside vision posed the question of its own source of legitimacy and potency, which explains Foucault’s turn to techniques of the self. Deleuze calls this turn the relation to an outside further than any outside and more interior than any inside. This is what Deleuze calls the line of subjectivation and what I think can also be called, following Stiegler (but also Jung) a line of « individuation ». Foucault talks about the theorist as speaking from a singular practice, which nicely captures the nature of individuation as both singular and collective.

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