Tag Archives: ideology

The essence of neoliberalism

France’s pre-eminent sociologist and social theorist Pierre Bourdieu, who died not so long ago, did not pull his punches when it came to identifying the hegemonic economic system of the present, neoliberalism, ruthlessly as a “utopia of endless exploitation”. In an article titled “The essence of neoliberalism” (in Le Monde Diplomatique, December 1998) he puts…

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‘Decolonisation’, the new ideology

Everywhere one looks today in South Africa you find a new imperative: “Decolonise!” In certain academic quarters it has evidently already attained the level of a new ideology, where academics are expected to “decolonise” the courses they teach (and presumably the articles they submit for publication as well). What astonishes me is that academics do…

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The lie that society is founded on

In Living in the End Times (London: Verso, 2010) that inimitable Slovenian philosopher cum psychoanalytical theorist Slavoj Žižek performs a dazzling analysis of Christopher Nolan’s genealogical Batman film The Dark Knight (2008). What his analysis brings to light is something that, Žižek reminds one, John Ford also explored cinematically years ago in Fort Apache (1948)…

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What is ideology?

Those of us who were studying at the time of the great “cold war” tussle between the superpowers would remember that, at that time, one thought of ideology as a more or less coherent system of ideas that demanded a way of living, or certain actions in accordance with those ideas. So, for example, communism…

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Charlie Hebdo, laughter, dogma and ‘truth’

The recent “terrorist” attacks at the satirical magazine, Charlie Hebdo, in Paris, France, is a stark reminder of something that the Italian semiotician, philosopher, novelist and universal scholar Umberto Eco thematised in his first novel, The Name of the Rose (1998), namely, the supposedly negative, mutually exclusive relationship between what is taken to be absolute,…

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Feminism isn’t for everybody, but it could be

This morning I read Danielle Bowler’s commentary on the good versus bad feminist debate in her column “We are all bad feminists, and that’s okay”. While I’m all for a nuanced and reflexive critique on feminisms and their limitations in order to better develop and strengthen the movement, I found myself puzzled by what read…

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How to challenge your whiteness…

I am a white South African man, and when I wrote about the problems of white masculinity I faced a barrage of abusive tweets, threats and even a phone call to one of my work colleagues to complain about my writing. Ironically, all of this proved the argument I was making. More importantly: it proved…

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The liberal project and DA discontent

Those interested in the DA or inadvertently exposed to it would be aware of an on-going, often heated, discussion about the ideological underpinnings of the party and its political future. Contributors have included Gareth van Onselen (and again), DA executive communications director Gavin Davis and former party leader Tony Leon. There were also two pieces…

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Of Marxist wastelands and aborted transitions

On the occasion of the African National Congress’s 100th anniversary early this year, there was a literary text that kept playing inside my subconscious mind every time I watched or read about this momentous event – one of the most significant of our time. It is a passage from Chinua Achebe’s Anthills of the Savannah:…

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The sciences and the nature of the university

A philosophical friend responded to my previous post as follows: “I have now had a good look at your piece on the need for a social theory within which research should be located in all the sciences. I am very interested in the question of the relationship of the various disciplines/sciences because I think answering…

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