Ideology (International Dictionary of Psychoanalysis)
The word ideology refers to the study of ideas, a form of general or abstract discourse, immobilized thought (Piera Aulagnier, Sophie de Mijolla-Mellor), or any doctrine claiming to justify a collective activity of a political, religious, artistic, or other kind. When Antoine Destutt de Tracy in his Mémoire sur la faculté de penser (vol. 1, 1796-1798) andements d'idéologie (1801) coined the word as an attempt to create a science of ideas, he remained nominally a Platonist in that he did not conceive of the term as derogatory, which it has since become. However, the Platonic "ideology" Alexandre Kojève described in his Essai d'une histoire raisonnée de la philosophie païenne (vol. II, Platon et Aristote) was not only a science of ideas but claimed to be the science of objective reality, the Cosmos noètos conceived by Plato as the real, or essential world, interposed between the One and the sensible world (Cosmos aisthètos). Destutt de Tracy claimed to be an ideologue, as did Pierre Daunou, Constantin-François Volney, Pierre Cabanis, and Dominique Garat, but the term was used deprecatingly by Napoleon and François René de Chateaubriand.
In the work of Karl Marx, ideology assumed a critical sense that displayed the opposition between the "noble" sense given to it by Destutt de Tracy and its opposite, purely negative meaning; this opposition is itself "ideological." In the German Ideology, ideology is always the reflection of an alienation, an alienation obscured by the material conditions that determine the representations that constitute that alienation. Ideology, as an expression of alienation, is essentially incapable of grasping the dialectical relationships that unite or resist those representations. By extension any non-critical system of representation is considered an ideology, for example, Catholic ideology or even Marxist ideology understood as the dogmatization of the results of Marx's critical thought (Leninism, Stalinism, etc.). Ideology would then be seen as the discourse of a class, a party, or an association that seeks to achieve or achieves cultural, political, economic, intellectual, spiritual, or other domination over society and individuals.
The essence of ideology could therefore be to weld a "collectivity" into a defensive system of representations based on an unconscious causality, material or structural, involving realities such as the Family, the Nation, the Army, the Church, the State, and so on. These can then be understood as ideological entities, just as "fixed" as individual doctrines or representations. "System," superstructure, doctrine, dogma, and so on, then become other possible synonyms for ideology.
Sigmund Freud gathered up all these meanings to express a "vision of the world" (Weltanschauung) whose various forms of representation philosophy elaborates in thought, which would make his research into truth the pinnacle of ideology. For philosophy is the work of sublimation while ideology, as Piera Aulagnier has shown, is an avatar of the desire for "self-alienation" (Les Destins du plaisir, 1979). Ideologylways and everywhereorresponds to a "sublimated abandonment to an abstract idea" (Freud, Sigmund, 1921c). But as Sophie de Mijolla-Mellor has noted, "it isn't a question of sublimation but of intellectualization or desexualized abstraction; we do not give in to an idea but to its author, whether a group or an individual" (1992). Radical ideology might be a form of destructive madness to the extent that ideology tends to exclude conflict and sharply reduce ambivalence, thus resembling the discourse of schizophrenia.
See also: Philosophy and psychoanalysis.
Aulagnier, Piera. (1979). Les Destins du plaisir. Aliénation, amour, passion. Paris: Presses Universitaires de France.
Freud, Sigmund, (1921c). Group psychology and the analysis of the ego. SE, 18: 65-143.
Mijolla-Mellor, Sophie de. (1992). Le Plaisir de pensée. Paris: Presses Universitaires de France.