This is the topic page for Ideology. The page is under constant revision. Version @ 2021-11- 28
Drawing on Althusser, Lacan and Zizek: ideology functions as the Symbolic order. The human subject constructs their reality though the Symbolic order (e.g.language, culture).
Individuals have no inherent meaning. They are only subjects, who come into being when they are interpellated by ideology. Interpellation is a process in which we internalize our culture’s values.
The reality the subject (the interpellated individual) lives in is not the Real (which cannot be symbolized), but it is the subject’s representation of their (Imaginary) reality. As they are always “in” ideology within the Symbolic order, the subject can never enter the Real.
Marx viewed ideology as a form of false consciousness, that individuals thought was reality. The individual could escape ideology and thereby understand reality. However, from our perspective, the individual — as a Subject — is always interpellated by some form of ideology. As we cannot escape the Symbolic order, we cannot escape ideology.