The End of Ideology

  • Gino G. Raymond
Part of the French Politics, Society and Culture Series book series (FPSC)

Abstract

In the classic sense articulated by Karl Marx, the very purpose of the struggle against the status quo was to break the hold of ideology. Its social origin was clear and its purpose was unmistakeable: to hide the real nature of human relations in a bourgeois society and in so doing keep the wage-labourer bound to his owner by invisible threads. Ideology was the key component in the attempt to prevent the workers from grasping the real nature of their condition and it operated in order to serve the survival and self-interest of the bourgeoisie.1 But a broader understanding of ideology, more focused on human psychology, can put it in a context where proletarian class-consciousness offers no protection from falling into a delusional sphere of errors to which all groups and parties are susceptible.2 The Marxist attack on the enslavement that results from the dominance of bourgeois ideology in capitalist society does not negate the argument that those making the assault share, along with everyone else, a need for contact with sources of legitimacy and creativity and that underlying overtly rational political actions are determinations characterised by undeniable psychological facts or even fictions.3 Taken to its logical conclusion, this perspective on ideology means that any group with a mission, sharing the same psychological dispositions and collective beliefs may be regarded as being imbued with an ideology,4 and it is something that is woven into its sense of identity and purpose.

Keywords

Dust Europe Income Expense Posit 

Preview

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

Notes

  1. 1.
    K. Marx and F. Engels, The German Ideology, ed. C. J. Arthur (London: Lawrence & Wishart, 1978), p. 65.Google Scholar
  2. 2.
    K. Mannheim, Ideology and Utopia, trans. L. Wirth and E. Shils (London: Routledge & Kegan Paul, 1936), p. 54.Google Scholar
  3. 3.
    H. J. Eysenck and G. D. Wilson, The Psychological Basis of Ideology (Lancaster: MTP Press, 1978) p. 303.Google Scholar
  4. 4.
    R. Geuss, The Idea of a Critical Theory: Habermas and the Frankfurt School (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1981), p. 5.Google Scholar
  5. 5.
    M. Rodinson, ‘Mouvements Socio-Politiques’, Cahiers Internationaux de Sociologie, 33 (1962), 97–113, p. 99. The personal sense of justification that ideology imparts is enhanced by the self-referential nature of ideological discourse, which makes the arguments of its proponents irresistible. InGoogle Scholar
  6. D. J. Manning, The Form of Ideology (London: Allen & Unwin, 1980), p. 78.Google Scholar
  7. 6.
    C. Lévi-Strauss, Anthropologie Structurale (Paris: Plon, 1958), p. 231.Google Scholar
  8. 7.
    In J. Jaffré, ‘Après les municipales et les européennes. Le nouveau décor électoral’, Pouvoirs, 55 (1990), 147–62.Google Scholar
  9. 8.
    See M. Duverger, La démocratie sans le peuple (Paris: Seuil, 1967).Google Scholar
  10. 9.
    Figures quoted in L. Billordo, ‘Party Membership in France: Measures and Data-Collection’, French Politics, 1:1 (2003), 137–51. Billordo also identifies the peculiar distortions that occur in the management and representation of party membership figures in France: the lack of a legal obligation to report accurate membership figures, which encourages the parties to exaggerate them in order to bolster their image; the historically occult nature of party financing which meant that inflated reported membership figures made for more plausible explanations concerning the provenance of party funds. Ibid., p. 138.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  11. 10.
    S. Courtois et al., Le livre noir du communisme (Paris: Robert Laffont, 1997), p. 13. The authors revived Kolakowski’s argument that the absolutist mindset that arises from the certainty that one is in possession of the truth makes terror the inescapable flip side of ideological conviction. Moreover, unlike the religious terror represented by the Inquisition, the step is that much shorter in a secular, revolutionary worldview because the enjoyment of grace is not to be found in an otherworldly dimension but is achieved in one leap in the here and now. InGoogle Scholar
  12. L. Kolakowski, L’Esprit révolutionnaire (Paris: Editions Complexe, 1978), p. 22. In short, as Todorov argues, the shadow that can hang over an atheist society is not the mythical hell to which rebels were condemned in the past under religious regimes, but the prospect of a real hell being created, in which those who refuse to submit to an absolutist state can be concentrated and crushed, and whose crushing can be used as an example to intimidate others. InGoogle Scholar
  13. T. Todorov, Nous et les autres (Paris: Seuil, 1989), pp. 226–7.Google Scholar
  14. 11.
    P. Rigoulot and I. Yannakakis, Un pavé dans l’histoire. Le débat français sur ‘Le livre noir du communisme’ (Paris: Robert Laffont, 1998), p. 219.Google Scholar
  15. 12.
    See, for example, N. Tenzer, La société dépolitisée (Paris: Presses Universitaires de France, 1990).Google Scholar
  16. 13.
    See R. Delacroix and N. Tenzer, Les élites et la fin de la démocratie française (Paris: Presses Universitaires de France, 1992). Delacroix and Tenzer make the point that the end of ideology has made what were once Left and Right in terms of political elites, adopt a libertarian individualism that does not allow them to assume a leading responsibility for determining the evolution of collective values, since underlying these are moral choices that are commonly perceived as belonging to the individual alone. Consequently, political elites in particular, find refuge in a quasi-managerial discourse focused on rational organisation and efficiency gains, comforted in their abdication of responsibility by what the authors refer to as ‘libérale-libertaire’ assumptions that function as a default ideology. Ibid., p. 140.Google Scholar
  17. 14.
    See F. Furet and R. Halévi, La Monarchie républicaine: La constitution de 1791 (Paris: Fayard, 1996).Google Scholar
  18. 15.
    M. Wieviorka, ‘L’Etat et ses sujets’, Projet, 233 (1993), 17–25.Google Scholar
  19. 16.
    For example, B. Boccara, L’Insurrection démocratique: Manifeste pour la Sixième Republique (Paris: Democratica, 1993).Google Scholar
  20. 17.
    For example, A. Finkielkraut, Ingratitude (Paris: Gallimard, 1999).Google Scholar
  21. 18.
    See A. Minc, Le nouveau moyen âge (Paris: Gallimard, 1993).Google Scholar
  22. 19.
    J. Ion, La Fin des militants? (Paris: Editions de l’Atelier, 1997), p. 80.Google Scholar
  23. 20.
    P. Perrineau, L’Engagement politique. Déclin ou mutation? (Paris: Presses de la FNSP, 1994), p. 19.Google Scholar
  24. 21.
    See I. Sommier, Les Nouveaux mouvements contestataires à l’heure de la mondialisation (Paris: Flammarion, 2001).Google Scholar
  25. 22.
    S. Waters, Social Movements in France. Towards a New Citizenship (Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan, 2003), pp. 22–3.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  26. 23.
    J. Fabien, Les nouveaux secrets des communistes (Paris: Albin Michel, 1990), p. 123.Google Scholar
  27. 25.
    S. Griggs, ‘Candidates and Parties of the Left’, in R. Elgie (ed.), Electing the French President. The 1995 Presidential Election (Basingstoke, Macmillan, 1996), pp. 96–122, p. 99.Google Scholar
  28. 27.
    S. Courtois and M. Lazar, Histoire du parti communiste français (Paris: PUF, 2000), pp. 436–7.Google Scholar
  29. 32.
    See P. Buffotot and D. Hanley, ‘Chronique d’une défaite annoncée: Les élec-tions législatives des 25 mai et 1er juin 1997’, Modern and Contemporary France, 6:1 (1998). 5–19.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  30. 33.
    G. Grunberg, ‘Que reste-t-il du parti d’Epinay?’, in C. Ysmal and P. Perrineau (eds), Le Vote sanction: Les élections législatives de 1993 (Paris: Figaro/FNSP, 1993), pp. 208–9.Google Scholar
  31. 39.
    M. Lazar, ‘La gauche communiste plurielle’, Revue française de science politique, 49:4–5 (1999), 695–705, p. 697.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  32. 41.
    R. Hue, Communisme: La Mutation (Paris: Stock, 1995), p. 339.Google Scholar
  33. 42.
    R. Hue, Communisme: Un nouveau projet (Paris: Stock, 1999), p. 9.Google Scholar
  34. 47.
    See J. Jaffré and A. Muxel, S’abstenir: Hors du jeu politique? Les cultures politiques des Français (Paris: Presses de Sciences Po., 2000).Google Scholar
  35. 54.
    M.-C. Lavabre and F. Platone, Que reste-t-il du PCF? (Paris: Editions Autrement, 2003), p. 69.Google Scholar
  36. 57.
    P. Martin, ‘Le vote Le Pen, l’électorat du Front National’, Notes de la Fondation Saint-Simon, 94 (1996), 43.Google Scholar
  37. 58.
    P. Martin, ‘Les élections de 2002 constituent-elles un moment de rupture dans la vie politique française?’, Revue française de science politique, 52:5–6 (2002), 593–606, p. 598.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  38. 60.
    See F. Greffet, ‘L’évolution électorale du PCF de Robert Hue 1994–2001’, Communisme, 67–8 (2002), 157–79.Google Scholar
  39. 61.
    See D. Andolfatto, ‘Le parti de Robert Hue, chronique du PCF 1994–2001’, Communisme, 67–8 (2002), 207–64.Google Scholar
  40. 69.
    G. Marchais, ‘Justice, liberté, paix. Le chemin de l’avenir pour la France’, Report to the 26th Congress of the PCF, 2–6 December 1987, pp. 49–50.Google Scholar
  41. 72.
    F. Platone, ‘“Prolétaires de tous les pays …”, Le Parti communiste français et les immigrés’, in O. Le Cour Grandmaison and C. Withol de Wenden (eds), Les étrangers dans la cite. Expériences européennes (Paris: Editions La Découverte, 1993), pp. 64–80, p. 80.Google Scholar
  42. 73.
    See N. Kiwan, The Construction of Identity Amongst Young People of North African Origin in France: Discourses and Experiences, unpublished PhD thesis/ Doctorat de 3ème cycle, University of Bristol/EHESS, 2003, especially Chapters 4 and 7.Google Scholar
  43. 75.
    M. Silverman, Facing Postmodernity. Contemporary French Thought on Culture and Society (London: Routledge, 1999), p. 160.Google Scholar
  44. 76.
    B. Pudal, ‘La beauté de la mort communiste’, Revue française de science politique, 52:5–6 (2002), 545–59, p. 546.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  45. 77.
    P. Bourdieu, Choses dites (Paris: Minuit, 1997), p. 221.Google Scholar
  46. 80.
    G. Le Gall, ‘Régionales et cantonales: Le retour de la gauche deux ans après le 21 avril’, Revue Politique et Parlementaire, 1029–1030 (2004), 8–24.Google Scholar
  47. 83.
    See F. Subileau and M.-F. Toinet, Les chemins de l’abstention (Paris: La Découverte, 1993), pp. 193–7.Google Scholar
  48. 84.
    M. Lazar, Le Communisme: Une passion française (Paris: Perrin, 2002), p. 218.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Gino G. Raymond 2005

Authors and Affiliations

  • Gino G. Raymond
    • 1
  1. 1.University of BristolEngland

Personalised recommendations