[OPE-L:1402] Re: Marx and the BBC

Gerald Levy (glevy@pratt.edu)
Sat, 2 Oct 1999 12:29:26 -0400 (EDT)

---------- Forwarded message ----------
Date: Sat, 02 Oct 1999 14:52:14 +0100
From: Jurriaan Bendien <djjb99@worldonline.nl>

Dear Jerry
>Andrew said that the _ruling_ (i.e. dominant) ideas produced in
>academia are the ideas of the ruling class. Here he simply paraphrases
I haven't got the German Ideology handy here to find the exact quote, but
my hunch is that Marx said something a little bit different. From memory
the quote goes something like "in each and every epoch the ruling ideas are
the ideas of the ruling class". That's a generalisation, which may be
useful as a starting insight but not much more. I would argue that
particularly these days what the "ruling ideas" are is not a
straightforward matter; I would indeed argue that bourgeois civilisation is
experiencing a profound ideological crisis, and the dominant fractions of
the bourgeois class often differ with the ideas dominating in the
university. Hence, they would like to reform the universities to bring them
into line with current preoccupations, and that is not something that
happens automatically because "their ideas rule" but a process of struggle
and competition. What is left out of the generalisation is that the ruling
ideas are continually being transformed and contested in bourgeois society,
as a function of (broadly) a threefold competition: between owners of
capital, between owners of capital and employees, and between employees.

>I'm quite sure that Andrew recognizes that other ideas of the ruling class
>are produced and reproduced in other social institutions besides the
>university, e.g. other educational institutions, the media, the legal
>system, religious institutions, commercial entertainment, etc.

I am sure of that too - but are you saying that Andrew subscribes to an
Althusserian interpretation of "ideological state apparatuses". [No, JL]
I would find that surprising in view of what I have read of Andrew's work,
which I indeed take to be more or less an antithesis of Althusserianism.

In solidarity


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