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Hot Topics, Professed Beliefs, and Dissenting Voices: Theoretical Comments on Politics, Ideology, and Fiction


Mühlheim, Martin (2005). Hot Topics, Professed Beliefs, and Dissenting Voices: Theoretical Comments on Politics, Ideology, and Fiction. Variations: Literaturzeitschrift der Universität Zürich, (13):133-145.

Abstract

This article examines the interdependency between politics, ideology, and narrative fiction. First, I offer a brief survey of important ways in which the notions of ideology and politics have been conceptualized. I then go on to suggest that a Foucaultian notion of discourse is one of the most powerful critical tools for the analysis of ideology and politics, and perhaps the one most suitable for linking the two concepts to the realm of narrative fiction. While I agree that ideology and politics should never be seen as entirely separate domains, I also propose that we must maintain some distinction between them if we want to use the terms productively in a critical analysis of fictional narratives. Consequently, I suggest that the opposition between politics and ideology can be seen as analogous to the utterance-grammar distinction; while politics is concerned with individual, socially and historically localized instance of power struggles, ideology refers to an entire "underlying" system of such moves for power. Building on these theoretical premises, the article concludes with a discussion of hegemonic and/or marginal discourses, hopefully providing the reader with the sense that a clearer distinction between politics and ideology leads to more precise and exciting interpretations of narrative fiction.

Abstract

This article examines the interdependency between politics, ideology, and narrative fiction. First, I offer a brief survey of important ways in which the notions of ideology and politics have been conceptualized. I then go on to suggest that a Foucaultian notion of discourse is one of the most powerful critical tools for the analysis of ideology and politics, and perhaps the one most suitable for linking the two concepts to the realm of narrative fiction. While I agree that ideology and politics should never be seen as entirely separate domains, I also propose that we must maintain some distinction between them if we want to use the terms productively in a critical analysis of fictional narratives. Consequently, I suggest that the opposition between politics and ideology can be seen as analogous to the utterance-grammar distinction; while politics is concerned with individual, socially and historically localized instance of power struggles, ideology refers to an entire "underlying" system of such moves for power. Building on these theoretical premises, the article concludes with a discussion of hegemonic and/or marginal discourses, hopefully providing the reader with the sense that a clearer distinction between politics and ideology leads to more precise and exciting interpretations of narrative fiction.

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Additional indexing

Item Type:Journal Article, refereed, original work
Communities & Collections:06 Faculty of Arts > English Department
Dewey Decimal Classification:820 English & Old English literatures
Language:English
Date:2005
Deposited On:19 Mar 2009 10:12
Last Modified:07 Apr 2017 14:49
Publisher:Peter Lang
ISSN:1424-7631
Additional Information:Title of this issue: Politik und Fiktion = Politique et fiction = Politics and Fiction
Official URL:http://www.variations.uzh.ch/archive/varia13.html
Related URLs:http://opac.nebis.ch/F/?local_base=NEBIS&con_lng=GER&func=find-b&find_code=SYS&request=002076577
http://www.peterlang.net/Index.cfm?vID=85599&vHR=1&vUR=4&vUUR=11&vLang=D

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