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On the Limitations of Ideological Critique

Liao, Wei-Kai (2015) On the Limitations of Ideological Critique. PhD thesis, University of Sheffield.

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Abstract

This thesis investigates whether humans possess the capacity to resist ideology via two dimensions: empirical analysis and philosophical discourse. For the empirical analysis, academic ideology-specialists and their publications (articles related to ideological analysis or critique (IAC)) are selected as research subjects. Through analysing ideology-specialists’ IAC works, this thesis attempts to examine their immunity against (their own or social) ideology and humans’ limitation of undertaking (ideological) critique. Inspired by the Frankfurt School’s argument of standardisation in cultural creations, this thesis has analysed 33 IAC articles to determine whether these IAC works are composed in the same way and lead to an academic industry (as with the culture industry critiqued by Adorno and Horkheimer). Based on the commonalities between the 33 IAC articles, it has been found that standard writing procedures (SWPs) when writing IAC articles do indeed exist. Accordingly, through an empirical analysis, this thesis argues that ideology critics are incapable of exempting from either their own or from the social ideology in which they are embedded. Humans’ capacity to undertake a neutrally and objectively ideological critique is limited. In the philosophical discourse, Adorno’s works are selected since many of his ideas seem to guide a way out of ideology’s dungeon; yet, Adorno only succeeds in a theoretical dimension. His discourses have conveyed certain significations that represent his personal ideology resulting from his life experience. His defeat reveals the limitation of undertaking (ideological) critique: criticising one subject, even through an ideological angle, involves an ideology itself. Finally, in order to solve this dilemma of fatalism, this thesis suggests the concept of humbleness and the action of self-critique. The former asks readers to realise humans’ limitation of undertaking a neutral and objective (ideological) critique, so that humans have to minimise their egocentricity. The latter indicates a possible way to escape from ideology. Keywords: Ideology, Intellectual, Critique, Frankfurt School, Marxism, Adorno, Humble

Item Type: Thesis (PhD)
Additional Information: In Memory of My Father
Academic Units: The University of Sheffield > Faculty of Social Sciences (Sheffield) > Politics (Sheffield)
Identification Number/EthosID: uk.bl.ethos.651261
Depositing User: Mr Wei-Kai Liao
Date Deposited: 11 Jun 2015 08:21
Last Modified: 03 Oct 2016 13:15
URI: http://etheses.whiterose.ac.uk/id/eprint/9053

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