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date: 11 July 2020

Abstract and Keywords

Against a widespread misunderstanding, Marx and Engels did not consider ideology as a mere form of consciousness expressing an underlying economic interest. They developed a critical approach that saw ideology as an alienated socialization from above, which is to be overcome in a classless society. It is also shown that their ideology-critical approach was not restricted to a critique of “false consciousness” but was mainly interested in unveiling the real “inversions” in the societal relations of class societies: the division of manual and intellectual labor; the fetishism of the commodity, money, and capital; and finally in the detached position of the state emerging together with class antagonisms as the “first ideological power” (Engels) over society. Marx and Engels thus anticipated a materialist concept of the ideological that was later developed explicitly in theories of hegemony and of ideology (e.g. by Gramsci, Althusser and the Berlin Projekt Ideologietheorie [PIT]).

Keywords: alienation, camera obscura, false consciousness, commodity fetishism, hegemony, ideological apparatuses, ideology-critique, philosophy of praxis, reification, religion

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