What Is Ideology?


The course will explore different theoretical, literary and cinematographic approaches to the question of ideology and its role in politics in the context of Peronism.

The populism that arguably defined twentieth century politics in Argentina challenged liberal and left wing thinkers to reconsider the cultural imaginaries, habits, and organizational structures moving the masses. Irreducible to either doctrine or illusion, ideology would become the center of politics. The issue of what it is and how it works would likewise assume a pivotal place in both literature and social thought. This course will examine Argentinean narrative, film, political rhetoric, and social theory from the 1930s through the 1970s in order to explore the tension and intersection between two different approaches to the question of ideology. The first, which derives from moral and political philosophy, presumes that individuals are inherently free and asks why, given this condition, we would submit to the unjust authority of others. The second, which derives from the Marxist tradition, argues that ideas emerge from an exploitative social division of labor and yet blind the exploited (and exploiters) to these same material conditions. Combining these two approaches, the texts surveyed ponder the fact that while the genesis of our ideas and customs may be social and objective, they are only actualized and made relevant in the highly subjective realm of politics. We will study notions such as class and class-consciousness, the revolutionary party, the leader, populism, and madness in the work of Antonio Gramsci, Roberto Arlt, Jorge Luis Borges, Juan Domingo Perón, Ernesto Laclau, and Rodolfo Walsh, among others. Readings and discussions will be in Spanish. Hispanic Culturess II or special permission from the profesor required.

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Hispanic Cultures II or special permission from the instructor.