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Sam Coombes

As Paul Ricœur notes in L’Idéologie et l’utopie, the ascription of the characteristic of being ‘ideological’ to a set of ideas has traditionally had pejorative implications. One’s own ideas are not ideological, only those of one’s adversaries.1 The philosophical and critical writings of the early Sartre do not offer an explicit discussion of the concept of ideology. Even in Cahiers pour une morale, notable for the evidence they provide of Sartre’s increasing rapprochement with Marxism, ideology per se is never Sartre’s centre of interest.

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Margaret A. Majumdar

Writing in 1966, Roger Garaudy saw Althusser and Sartre occupying the two poles of contemporary French Marxist thought.1 While no-one would deny their fundamental difference in approach, the fact remains that both were participants in the same project – the modernisation of Marxism in the light of theoretical and political problems which had affected its development, with the aim of achieving an autonomous space for the intellectual to engage with Marxist theory and the practice of the working-class struggle. Both were primarily intellectuals; both were capable of intransigence

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Deborah Evans

, Marxist, and so on. But the Other also has certain normative and ideological frames of reference, which may violently conflict with and negate our own way of being-in-the-world, as demonstrated, for example, in the Paris terror attacks of November 2015

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Ming-Lun Chung

social world, school anti-bullying policy could be viewed as a mixture of ideological discourses (either scientific or political claims) and the object of preexisting generative mechanisms (which could be activated by historical, cultural, and political

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Neil Munro

This article examines willingness to join China's emerging green movement through an analysis of data from the China General Social Survey of 2006. A question asked about environmental NGO membership shows that while only 1 percent of respondents claim to be members of an environmental NGO, more than three-fifths say they would like to join one in future if there is an opportunity, slightly less than one-fifth reject the idea and the remainder are “don't knows.” The article tests explanations of willingness to join based on instrumentality, ideology, social identity and social capital networks. It finds that instrumental considerations dominate, although ideology, identity and networks contribute incrementally. The conclusion considers the usefulness of willingness to join as an indicator of social cohesion within the framework of a wider effort to evaluate social quality.

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From Solidarity to Social Inclusion

The Political Transformations of Durkheimianism

Derek Robbins

The article begins with Pierre Rosanvallon's account of the mutations of 'Jacobin ideology' and the function of sociology in criticising this in France at the end of the nineteenth century. I suggest it was not Durkheim's intention simply to criticise a 'Jacobin' form of political ideology. Rather, it was to construct an affinity between sociological explanation and social facts, such that sociological discourse would appropriate the sphere of the political and take part, by so doing, in the constitution of a participative social democracy. I then touch on the post-mortem academicisation of Durkheim's work in France between the wars, to ask if the emergent Durkheimianism neutralised Durkheim's original socio-political intentions. This leads to a discussion of the resurgent domination of the discourse of politics in the 1960s, as manifested in Aron's critiques of Durkheim and in his defence of constitutional law at the beginning of the Fifth Republic, but also to an examination of Bourdieu's attempt to retrieve Durkheim's original orientation and to revive the political dynamism of social movements. I comment on the analysis, made in the 1970s by Bourdieu (and Boltanski), of the construction of the dominant postwar ideology in French politics, which includes their critique of 'planification' and of the work, amongst others, of Jacques Delors. They saw the language used by the newly dominant political managers as exploiting the sociological discourse of 'solidarity' and 'social exclusion', not to realize its intentions, but to reinforce their own control. I briefly consider the argument's implications for an analysis of European Commission social policy initiatives during the presidency of Delors, comment on the British Conservative government's objections in the 1980s and 1990s to the very use of this language, and ask if the Labour government's adoption of the discourse of 'social inclusion' in 1997 was indicative of either a political or a social agenda. Finally, I return to Rosanvallon and situate his work politically within the ideological debate of 1995 between him and Bourdieu. It is to conclude with the suggestion that Rosanvallon's apparent disinclination to recognize the importance of Durkheim's work is indicative of his present position-taking, which necessarily entails a suppression of Durkheim's real intentions.

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Steve Martinot

It is said that Sartre maintained a certain opposition to post-structuralism, for which his focus on a dialectical understanding of historical praxis is considered evidence. Yet he rarely discussed post-structuralism, nor engaged it in debate; which is odd, since it formed part of his philosophical milieu. After all, he took on Marxism and Christianity. But to debate post-structuralism would mean addressing its view of the world, thereby assuming it actually had one. Perhaps he saw that to address it as an ideology, a view of the world, rather than a critique of discursivity itself, would be to transform it into what it was not, against itself.

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John Gillespie

This overview of Sartre's theater within the context of the symposium focuses on the inherent ambiguities of his theory and practice. His plays, as committed literature, are not always successful in their pedagogical intention of changing the minds of his audiences. On the one hand, he seeks to provide universal situations with which everyone can collectively identify, and on the other he wishes to convince them of the value of freedom and confront them with problems and conflicts they must resolve for themselves. These spectators then exercise that freedom by taking ideological viewpoints that are in conflict with those of the plays. Moreover, the plays are often complex and ambiguous, and set far from a contemporary French context, thus demanding a certain sophistication of interpretation. Sartre's skill as a dramatist is to write plays that engage the public in debates about the key questions of the day, even though, because of his open approach, he does not always succeed in changing their minds.

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Ronald Paul

This article brings together the Sartrean concept of bad faith and Edward Upward's novel, Journey to the Border, first published in 1938. The aim is to provide an overtly political reading that challenges the surreal obscurity of Upward's psychological narrative, while at the same time showing the continuing relevance of Sartre's understanding of the psychological tensions and existential dilemmas of the modern condition. Upward's novel has been the focus of much critical debate as to the meaning of the story - the descent of the main character towards madness in the context of the 1930s threat of fascism and war - as well as the generic characterisation of the text in terms of satire, fable, fantasy or political parable. The article argues in contrast a more unequivocally ideological reading of the series of existential choices, both personal and political, of the main character as a struggle for individual freedom and authenticity through a radical commitment to socialism and responsibility for the Other.

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Margaret Atack

To talk about Sartre and literature in the 1960s is to talk about a range of disparate things: at the beginning of the decade stands the farewell to Literature, the myth of literature, enshrined in the autobiographical Les Mots. At the end is the critical dissection of the myth of literature as an absolute in the third volume of L’Idiot de la famille, in a farewell of another kind. As far as Sartre is concerned, then, this was a decade framed by highly public, but also highly ambiguous, statements about literature, ambiguous by their very literariness. Statements which are undoubtedly intensified by the ideological role of literature in the constitution of the figure of the intellectual.