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date: 30 July 2021

Abstract and Keywords

This chapter explores the implications of the linguistic turn for the conceptualization of ideology. In particular, it focuses on distinctive poststructuralist answers to the question of the specificity of ideology. It concentrates specifically on two main contemporary approaches to the study of ideology—post-Marxist and psychoanalytical accounts—both of which share a poststructuralist concern with the constitutivity of language to political practices and subjectivity, and take the ubiquity of ideology as a starting-point. These approaches, exemplified in the writings of Laclau and Mouffe, and Žižek, respectively, share much. Yet they also differ in the analytical tools on offer. The former focuses on dislocation, the articulation of myths and imaginaries, and the constitution of empty signifiers, while the Lacanian conception of fantasy is central to the latter. Both, it is argued, are necessary for the analysis of the mechanisms that make ideological decontestation possible.

Keywords: poststructuralism, subjectivity, Laclau, Žižek, fantasy, imaginary, dislocation

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