The Politics of Interpretations

Spivak, Gayatri C.

It is difficult to speak of a politics of interpretation without a working
notion of ideology as larger than the concepts of individual consciousness
and will. At its broadest implications this notion of ideology would
undo the oppositions between determinism and free will and between
conscious choice and unconscious reflex. Ideology in action is what a
group takes to be natural and self-evident, that of which the group, as a
group, must deny any historical sedimentation. It is both the condition
and the effect of the constitution of the subject (of ideology) as freely
willing and consciously choosing in a world that is seen as background.
In turn, the subject(s) of ideology are the conditions and effects of the
self-identity of the group as a group. It is impossible, of course, to mark
off a group as an entity without sharing complicity with its ideological
definition. A persistent critique of ideology is thus forever incomplete.
In the shifting spectrum between subject-constitution and group-constitution
are the ideological apparatuses that share the condition/
effect oscillation.


Also Published In

Critical Inquiry

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Academic Units
English and Comparative Literature
University of Chicago Press
Published Here
March 13, 2015