Issue 4 – Communication, Ideology and Cultural Issues

Editor: Gülseren Adaklı

Gökhan Atılgan

The aim of the present paper is neither drawing a general frame of ideology nor handling all problems of Marxist conception of it. Rather, after taking attention to some of main problems about the meaning of ideology in pre-Marx era, the present paper is just focusing on the Marx’s conception of ideology in order to show both its historical development and to emphasize Marx’s contribution in giving a new and progressive meaning to the concept of ideology. By taking anchor from such a standpoint, the main part of the paper is devoted to support the following assertions: the fist one is that the meaning of ideology in Marx possesses negatory (or negative) content referring or indicating to illusionary or misleading forms or ideas, which finds its root in the contradictions of social reality. The second assertion intends to show the invalidity of such a claim: Marx’s conception of ideology gains different meanings and follows a contradictory path in his various works. In other words, in this paper, the approach claiming that early and late Marx had a different conception of ideology is criticized and as an alternative to such a view, it is argued that late Marx developed and sophisticated the conception of ideology in his early works. In order to support this alternative view, here it is especially laid stress on inseparable relation between Marx’s critique and his conception of ideology. Here, it is intended to underline the points that Marx’s conceptualization of ideologically ‘upside- down’ realm as the product of material contradictions and the importance of Marx’s critique, which is to directly pointing material realm.

Keywords: Marx, Ideology, Critique of Capitalism, Social Reality, Material Realm.

Zafer Yılmaz

In the 60s the theoretical insights that Althusser provided have attracted many intellectuals who were seeking answers to some critical problems within marxist theory. At first glance Althusser seemed to overcome the problems posed by the base/superstructure model with his complex schema of articulations and to elaborate the issue of ideology in a sophisticated manner. Undoubtedly the fact that Althusser radically criticized the historicist school’s emphasis on a voluntaristic and humanist version of Marxism, played a crucial role in that widespread appeal. However the structuralist methodology that Althusser offered as alternative, had its internal consistencies and posed serious problems for Marxist theory, to the extent that it paved the way for the flourishing of initial post-Marxist premises.
In this article this methodology is depicted and discussed in three main
parts. First, the conceptual framework of Althusser is analyzed. In that part the antinomies of the analytical tools like the articulation of instances , the nature of the marxist conflict are emphasized and their validity is questioned. Second, Althusser’s understanding of science is explained and science/ideology dichotomy that he introduces is discussed. Third, the famous theory of ideology, with all its propositions is challenged. Throughout this analysis, whenever needed, the realist-relational approach is used as a method to undermine the basic arguments of Althusserian framework.
Finally, the article tries to show how this very framework has been one of the theoretical grounds on which the post marxists based their arguments.

Keywords: Althusser, Theory of Instances, Science, Ideology, Articulation.

Emre Arslan

In their dominant usage, the concepts culture and ideology connote the possessions or attributes of certain subjects (individual, groups, societies etc). Unlike this static and one-sided conception, dialectical materialist approach grasps them as contradictory relations within the unity of opposites. To say it in a concrete way, culture and ideology are the preconditions or spaces, which the social classes struggle. In order to penetrate the culture and ideology as forms of social consciousness, we must assess them within the historical totality. In this paper, it is concluded that the concept social relations of production and relevant concepts such as production, mode of production and social classes supply us the general framework of the totality. Still, how these constructing elements of totality relate with ideology and culture is another actual puzzle to solve. In this paper, the relations between essence and form in the history are attempted to be clarified by exploiting some mathematical analogies. Here, it is formulated that ideology and culture are the functional forms or appearances of the set of the social classes. From this point of view, the task of the radical Science is to find the functional value of each element in the appearance set and solve the existing equivalent. Only after these findings, the radical Science can transfer the hegemonic elements to the ideological realm, which is visible to the society. However, the radical science is not adequate to disintegrate the ideological hegemonic processes of the dominant classes. This step must be accompanied by a socialist ideological and political operation.

Keywords: Ideology, Culture, Class Struggle, Dialectical Materialist Approach, Totality.

Sinan Kadir Çelik

In the present paper, the main axes of the historical process, by which neoliberal hegemony started to be constructed with 1970 s and taken place over 1930-1960’s Marxist hegemony in cultural life, are tried to be drawn by focusing and pondering upon the ways of usages, different types of interpretation and various modes of existence of the concepts especially and specifically like ‘alienation’ and ‘other’.
In this historical analysis, the essential meanings of these terms are out of the concern. Instead, the modus vivendi of these concepts within the different positions is chosen as the object of analysis in order to show how and why their interpretations have been differed in various political strategies and to show how and why such a gestalt switch from alienation to otherization has taken place with the ‘wind of change’.
By using such an approach, the following theses are tried to be shown and supported: 1) the concepts of alienation and other are always and already an arena of ideological struggle between different political positions and strategies; 2) the decline of alienation paradigm and losing its esteem in positioning it to various political strategies with 1970s and the emergence of the paradigm of other and politics of difference have been synchronic processes taking place with the construction of neoliberal hegemony in cultural and political life.

Keywords: Alienation, Otherization, Cultural Hegemony, Ideological Struggle, Neoliberal Hegemony.

Özlem Şahin-Ecehan Balta

In the essay, the relation of antinomies and consensus, hierarchies and inequalities, structures and meanings taking part in the “disorder of daily life” with existing social order are tried to be analysed from the critical perspective. The role of everyday life activities in reproduction and legitimation of social relations and transforming potential of it within the capitalist social relations we live are being analysed. And the importance of putting this discussions into the agenda of Marxist thought is being emphasized with the help of Marxist theorists -especially Marx and Engels themselves, Antonio Gramsci, George Lukacs, Agnes Heller and Henri Lefebvre.

Keywords: Everyday Life, Marxist Thought, Social Relations, Reproduction of Capitalist Social Relations, Disorder of Everyday Life.

Ali Serdar

Mikhail Mikhailovich Bakhtin, Nikolaevich Medvedev and Valentin Nikolaevich Voloshinov, namely the ‘Bakhtin Circle’ in literature, are subject to endless debates in contemporary social theory. Those debates, considering not only their theoretical contributions but also, the so -called ‘author problem’ (who dld write those books of the Circle), has become a literature itself and popularized the issue at hand. The follovving paper tries to explore works of those names basically in three dimensions and to locate Bakhtin (and his) Circle in Marxist theory vvithin the limits of those dimensions. Firstly, the paper shall be concerned with the background of ongoing debates and deals with the “author problem” not as an end itself but as an arena of ideological struggle. Each school of thought from post-structuralism to hermeneutics aim to locate Circle according to their point of view.
Evaluation of this kind naturally brings reductionism of two kinds: reduction of Circle’s theoretical analysis and reduction of authors from three to one. In order to impede those kinds of reductionism and for the sake of preserving the theoretical heterogeneity of Circle the label Bakhtin (and his) Circle is chosen rather than Bakhtin Circle. By this way, difference of authorship is also stressed. Secondly, by focusing on their dialogue with Russian Formalists, Circle’s comprehension of literature will be analyzed. Thirdly, together with their analysis of language, their theory of ideology in comparison with the general understanding of ideology in Marxist theory will be investigated.

By that kind of an organization their reflexive and heterogeneous understanding of culture and literature, and their distinguishing position in Marxian thought will be indicated. Throughout the paper it is argued that their dialectical understanding of superstructure has filled the great gap that’s left aside by the Marxist thought. The concepts that have arisen in the course of their study have been an important contribution to the Marxist study of culture, literature and ideology.

Keywords: Bakhtin Circle, Marxist Cultural Studies, Literary Critism, Author Problem, Dialectical Understanding of Superstructure.

Gülseren Adaklı

In this article I investigate the transformation of Sakıp Sabancı, one of the most prominent representatives of big bourgeoisie to a populer icon. The iconic character of Sabancı owes much to the peculiarities of the process that followed coup d’etat of September 1980. lust before the September Coup d’etat, after the stabilization program on 24th of January, Turkey adapted an export oriented economy policy instead of the former import substitution development strategy. The symbolic name of neoliberal economic policies in Turkey, like the examples of Ronald Reagan in United States and Margaret Thatcher in Britain, was Turgut Özal who came into power in 1983. The popular identity Özal developed against the traditional politician typology, that accompanies the neoliberal policies he put into practice, marked a differantiation in the perception of politics and cultural patterns. One of the most important aspects of this differentiation is the attitude of working classes to the identity of capitalists. The attitude of working classes towards the capitalist class, which was quite negatory before 1980, gradually became positive. Sabancı provided an example of a businessman as a populer icon, who collected the positive values on his identity. But, the path taken by the hegemonic bloc after 1980s was by no means free of problems, when the partial resistence of working classes against the IMF and World Bank oriented policies is taken into account. I also investigate the connection of this resistence with the iconoclasm against icons such as Sabancı. Sabancı as an icon with a powerful popular icon is also affected by the anti hegemonic of iconoclast.
Keywords: Sabancı, Coup D’etat of September 12th, Turgut Özal, Iconoclasm, Resistence of Working Class.

Aydın Çubukçu

Politics is not merely an activity of acquiring and maintaining political power as such. It also includes the ability of a given historical class to make its private interest as the public interest. In that effort, cultural practices play a crucial role for the establishment of a political hegemony. 12th September epitomizes this fact. To discuss the culture policy of the 12th September, this paper will focus on how the institutions like the National Security Council tried to reshape the cultural framework. Cencorships TV films, the explicit condemnation of Darwinism and subsequent introduction of the religion as a must course at the high schools, the promotion of “national culture” and ‘national identity’ are few of those policies which targeted the consolidation of the “National Security” principles among the people. More prominently, they overlapped with the promotion of pop images, which in turn helped the implementation of neoliberal premises. After depicting the elements of this shift in the cultural climate at the 80s, in the wider context of neoliberalism; the paper will conclude by showing how this situation began to change thanks to the resistances initiated by the workers’ movements of the 90s.

Keywords: 12th September, National Security Council, National Identity, Neoliberalism, Workers’ Movements of the 90s.

İrfan Erdoğan

Academic research encloses itself within a framework of administrative
activity as a consequence of construing communication on a linear sender message-receiver-feedback model. Hence, all structures associated with problems and issues of communication are regarded as legitimate, valid and universal reality; theoretical rationales, research questions or hypotheses, findings and conclusions are shaped according to the objectives of administrative control. Furthermore, ruling circles are relieved from responsibility by ascribing the consequences related with the produced products, ideological hegemony and consciousness management to the consumer, when post-modern active audience thesis are articulated into this approach. Thus, for instance, communication history becomes the history of legitimization of the capitalist market and approaches like Marxist political economy are declared invalid by proclaiming economic reductionism, when academic communication ın research, studies, courses, meetings, symposiums and publications engage in consciousness management of capitalist market mechanism.
This study, contrary to the ruling orientations, insists on the indispensability of Marxist political economy in social Sciences and provides a critical discussion on the issues of the political economy of communication. The main objective of the study, by emphasizing political economic features of the communication, is to indicate that the political economy approach is rather comprehensive and invaluable tool for social research.

Keywords: Marxist Political Economy, Mass Communication, Post-Modern Active Audience, Ideological Hegemony, Economic reductionism.

Gamze Yücesan Özdemir

Doing research on workers presents one of the major questions in social Sciences; how to uncover and record the views of subordinate and powerless social classes? The significant class for this study, workers, exists in a socio-historically specific milieu and is not independent of structural factors. They are in a relationship of domination and subordination with their wider social milieu. Hence, to be expressive about their experiences and attitudes, without any doubt, is problematic within these structural and functional relationships. Admitting the limitations set by social conflict and contradictions, and of power relations, this study argues that critical ethnography is a method to bring the workers’ viewpoint by giving them the chance of voicing their views. Given that methodology is a social and political activity, in this study, critical ethnography is discussed as a mode of inquiry, with a sensitive approach to the power relations between subordinate groups and classes and their wider milieu in general and between researcher and researched in particular. Critical ethnography has its own distinctive features which lie in observing what workers do, not only listening to what they say and in eliminating the barriers, posed by power relations, to give them a voice to explain their views. However, the mode of inquiry has limitations stemming from the fact that the power relations that this study is involved in are structural, not just behavioural. Acknowledging the problems involved, this study remains convinced of the virtue of critical ethnography as a means of approaching the workers and of explaining, understanding and interpreting their perspectives.

Keywords: Critical Ethnography, Socio-historically Specific Social Milieu, Power Relations, Workers Viewpoint, Social Sciences.