Canadian Journal of Political and Social Theory Revue by VV AA

By VV AA

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Extra resources for Canadian Journal of Political and Social Theory Revue canadienne de theorie politique et sociale, Vol. 4, No. 2 (Spring-Summer Printemps-Ete, 1980) PSYCHOANALYSIS, IDEOLOGY AND LANGUAGE

Sample text

The family is being examined intensively by conservative, liberal and leftist theorists because it assumes a position of centrality in capitalist society. It is the pivotal social unit in which the organization of consumption, production of labor power, socialization of children, and regulation of social control - as well as the fulfillment of psychic and emotional needs - are presumably located . Yet the forces of capitalism essentially render family life impossible. As long as capitalism persists the family will remain in a constant state of imbalance .

What psychoanalysis can offer is the paradigm of another irreducible source of determinism . The model for this has already emerged here in our discussion of unconscious effectivity upon the ideological field . At once, the problem of the relative autonomy of the ideological instance seems soluble, in terms of the specific function ideology has of weaving social and psychical determinants together into the fabric of an orderly lived experience . Ideology will always be relatively autonomous with respect to infrastructural determinants and unconscious determinants, but it is ultimately determined by both.

The roots of this relativism lie in his adamant attack on vulgar Marxism and Freudianism . In his effort to avoid the pitfalls of either individual or economic reductionism he fails to perceive any determining relationships beyond the vague notion that the forces which bear on society and the family are many and complex . This hardly constitutes the material of theory. In his section on the elements of a critical theory Poster concludes, "family history should be conceived in the plural, as the history of distinct structures of age and sex hierarchies .

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