Alien Powers : The Pure Theory of Ideology book cover
1st Edition

Alien Powers
The Pure Theory of Ideology

ISBN 9780765803658
Published December 15, 2006 by Routledge
396 Pages

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Book Description

The term "ideology" can cover almost any set of ideas, but its power to bewitch political activists results from its strange logic: part philosophy, part science, part spiritual revelation, all tied together in leading to a remarkable paradox--that the modern Western world, beneath its liberal appearance, is actually the most systematically oppressive system of despotism the world has ever seen. Alien Powers: The Pure Theory of Ideology takes this complex intellectual construction apart, analyzing its logical, rhetorical, and psychological devices and thus opening it up to critical analysis.

Ideologists assert that our lives are governed by a hidden system. Minogue traces this notion to Karl Marx who taught intellectuals the philosophical, scientific, moral, and religious moves of the ideological game. The believer would find in these ideas an endless source of new liberating discoveries about the meaning of life, and also the grand satisfaction of struggling to overcome oppression. Minogue notes that while the patterns of ideological thought were consistent, there was little agreement on who the oppressor actually was. Marx said it was the bourgeoisie, but others found the oppressor to be males, governments, imperialists, the white race, or the worldwide Jewish conspiracy.

Ideological excitement created turmoil in the twentieth century, but the defeat of the more violent and vicious ideologies--Nazism after 1945 and Communism after 1989--left the passion for social perfection as vibrant as ever. Activist intellectuals still seek to "see through" the life we lead. The positive goals of utopia may for the moment have faded, but the ideological hatred of modernity has remained, and much of our intellectual life has degenerated into a muddled and dogmatic skepticism. For Minogue, the complex task of "demystifying" the "demystifiers" requires that we should discover how ideology works. It must join together each of its complex strands of thought in order to understand the remarkable power of the whole.

Table of Contents

Foreword to the Second Edition
Martyn P. Thompson
Preface to the Second Edition
Introduction to the Second Edition
Preface to the First Edition
1 Introduction to the 1st edition
2 Identification
I. A Science of Social Conditions
II. Society as a System of Consequences
III. The Secret of the Human World
IV. Modernity as Status Quo
V. Some Problems of Specification
3 Ideology as Social Criticism.
I. The Critical Thrust
II. Genus and Species
III. The Rhetoric of Social Criticism
IV. The Claim to Superiority
V. From Criticism to Melodrama
4 The Explanatory Model
I. Functional and Rational Explanations
II. Structure's Determination of Experience
III. Accounting for Change
IV. The Mediation of Social Conditions
V. The Historical Dimension
VI. The Vertical Integration of the Intellect
5 From Science to Rhetoric
I. Ideology and the Academic World
II. Philosophy, Science, and the Rhetoric of Unmasking
III. Disciplinary Dominoes
6 The Ideological Revelation
I. The Character of Revelation
II. The Potency of Secrecy
III. The Ground of Revelation
IV. A Mirror of Reality
7 The Concept of Mind
I. The Problem of the Ideological Terminus
II. The Ideological View of Mind
III. Species-man as Community
8 Ideology as Politics
I. Ideology and Politics Distinguished
II. The Postulate of Equality
III. The Postulate of Complementarity
9 The Ideological Version of Political Life
I. The Dissolution of Political Values
II. Interests
III. The Ideological Constituency
IV. The Quest for Power
10 Neutrality and the State
I. Forward and Reverse Gear in Ideological Argument
II. The Ideological Theory of the State
III. The Ideological Reproach
11 Conclusion
I. The Paradoxes of Ideology
II. Ideology and Modernity
III. Patterns of Confrontation
Critical Essays
Kenneth Minogue, the Individual, and Ideologies of Alienation
Stephen A. Erickson
Ideology and the Left
Paul Gottfried
Index (forthcoming)

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