From the critical point of view, in an attempt to segregate those who did not consider bourgeois or socialist ideology as the only preferable way to live, independent ideology constructed by the working class received very little attention. Ruling classes in a capitalistic society refused to consider the existence of the gray area between these black and white, good and evil, dichotomous ideologies mainly because a society divided by class distinctions could not support a third ideology which practices the principles of equality free from class supremacy and confinement.
However, independence is available for the working class citizens only if they act as a socialist theorists and not as a laborer of the capitalist economy. In view of the negating characteristics of the dominant class status, it may be improper to argue that bourgeois ideology represents the ideal world-view. The functional definition of the socially constructed ideology serves as a point of reference from which superiority could be established.
The concept of ideology present the dominant ideas and values as the beliefs of the public as a whole, thus the ideological state apparatuses function within the society to prevent individual’s from seeing how the system maintains its status. For instance, in its core function, language and literature is a highly sophisticated cultural production-a form of ideology-which legitimizes the power of the ruling class. Literature has been used extensively by the English upper classes both to express and transmit the dominant value systems to the lower class.
Marx wants to analyze social relations and class structures in order to change them, in order to alter what they see are the gross injustices and inequalities created by the capitalist economic relations. Marxism is a set of theories that explain a system of thought and analysis as a response to the Western revolution and the rise of industrial capitalism as the predominant economic mode. The theory itself defines its approach through three different disciplines that include philosophical movement, historical materialism, and economic production.
Marxism is a philosophical movement, in consideration of its ideas about human nature, and about how we know and function in the world come from traditions articulated by the relation between materialist and idealist philosophy. His ideology helps to create and define the category of philosophy dialectical materialism. Materialism comes from the Aristotelian and Newtonian ideas of philosophy, which is based on empiricism, on the direct observation of measurable or observable phenomena.
The materialist philosophy then observes how the human mind, with connection to its senses, perceives and grasp external reality, and particularly with the idea of how we know things ” objectively”, without the interference of emotions or preconceived ideas. This branch of philosophy is overconcerned with the idea that our actions are the product of the mechanisms that allow us to know what we perceive is actually real and not the product of our subjective mental processes.
The dialectical materialism then argues that dialogue is the material force that allows the ideas, social formations and practices to be in eternal flux or motion. It is emphasized that this motion influences the change to happen in a certain pattern. If change happens as the result of a struggle between two opposed forces, then it has to be resolved into a third entity. The thesis of an ideology stands in opposition to another position and this struggle between the thesis and the antithesis is resolved into a third set of ideas which is classified as the “synthesis”.
From the dialectical materialism point of view, change happens by the continual struggle between thesis, antithesis, and synthesis. In addition to being a set of philosophical ideas, Marxism is also a way of understanding the history. His approach to historicism is what he calls historical materialism, which argues that social change as an occurrence in response to human forces and not by destiny or some unknown force that shape events.
Historical materialism is interested to know the practices that create a materialist culture and investigates the materially objective tools that form the basis for historical change. The links between the formation of class-consciousness and its ideology are very close. Class-consciousness can be conceived as an ideology opposed to the dominant ideology of society. The consciousness of the class as a whole, is the way in which it fights the ideological battle against the dominant class. Class struggle takes an ideological form, and there are large obstacles for the proletariat to overcome.
Ideology, for Marx, arises only where social relations (or the natural world) manifest themselves to people’s experience in misleading forms, and the critique of ideology accordingly involves showing – materially – why this should be the case. The task of the critique, thus, is not to treat its pure concepts in abstraction, but to explicate materially the inhuman character of social relations underlying both our concepts and the natural, self-understood forms of social life. For, in capitalist society the essential relations manifest themselves to our experience in a misleading, ideological form.
This ideologicality of form, pure appearance of social phenomena, conceals the true substance of its underlying social relations. This relation, for Marx, is a real social process of estrangement in a world in which social relations take on the mystifying form of “the violence of things. ” Therefore, Marx’s method instructs us not to treat a concept as a theoretical primitive, in the logical sense, nor as interpretable solely in terms of other concepts. Instead, we must explore the ground of a concept in the actual ordering of people’s “materialistic connection. ”
The process of reification in society, as an important feature of the nature of bourgeois reality, comes about in the particular social conditions of capitalist production. Marx’s analysis of “the fetishism of commodities” reveals how capitalist production transforms the relations of individuals into qualities of things themselves, and this transformation constitutes the nature of the commodity. Marx pays great attention to the “reifying” appearance of the social relations of capitalist production which, demonstrate the further development of the form of capital that takes place in its movement.
He thus writes about the relationship between capital, land, and labor: “This economic trinity as the connection between the components of value and wealth in general and its sources, completes the mystification of the capitalist mode of production, the reification of social relations, and the immediate coalescence of the material relations of production with their historical and social specificity: the bewitched, distorted and upside-down world” (Marx 1894: 969).
In capitalism, on the surface of society, we have a whole world of phenomenal appearances which operate in accordance with “personification of things” and autonomization of the form of social elements. This fetishism, then, is manifested in capitalism’s phenomenal forms, the ways in which the social relations of bourgeois society present themselves to the consciousness of its participants. However, beneath the surface of society, in the depths, entirely different processes go on, where the essential social relations of capitalist production exist.
Thus, in the realm of the phenomenal world, neither the material groundwork, nor the historicity of capitalist phenomena is immediately evident in their appearance. These forms look, rather, to be natural, universal, and unquestionable, and are therefore understood in ordinary language and political economy in fetishistic ways. This mode of thinking is perverted and ideological because it grounds its analytic categories on the “natural self-understood forms of social life”.
It is, however, the massive obviousness of these capitalist ruling class individuals in bourgeois society that makes the whole phenomenal world of capitalism so deceptive, and “natural” in the social consciousness of the agents of production. Marx’s model of ideology is not a simple conspiracy of the capitalists to make sure that the workers live by the ideology so that they do not realize the contradictory nature of capitalism. The ruling class individuals are also subject to the illusions and appearances of the mode of production as much as the exploited class.
This encourages the persistence of the capitalist mode of production. If the essence of society was not hidden, not only would the workers feel resentment at being exploited, but also the exploiters would lack the composure for confident rule. Marx’s grounding of theoretical categories in the actual social relations of real living individuals is, then, intimately and necessarily bound up with his historical sociology. His definite emphasis on the historical specificity of bourgeois society makes it explicitly clear that in capitalism a system of economic relations emerges as a differentiated and objectified form.
Capitalism, thus, abstracts relations of interdependence arising from social division of labor from relationships between particular individuals and land. It creates an independent system of relations mediated by money and commodities. This independent system of relations underlies the category of “economy” as relations that can be seen apart from other dimensions of social existence. Thus, the peculiarity of capitalism’s extended social relations distinguishes it from all previous social formations. At the same time, bourgeois society furnishes us with the necessary means to understand and explore those social formations.
Bourgeois society, according to Marx, brings the whole of mankind, for the first time in history, within the purview of a single social order, and is genuinely “world historical. ” It is in this sense that bourgeoisie, for Marx, is the first true ruling class in history. An ideological method of thinking, thus, is a method of superseding, substituting, and suppressing the actual life-process of society, a method of giving primacy to “stupid dogmatic concepts” which confines the practice of thinking in the phenomenal world of this religion of everyday life.
It is a method of practicing the conceptual fetishism in which categories and forms of thought assume an independent existence over the actual social relations of society, which underlies them. If science, then, is ever to be judged, it must be in the service of humanity. Marx’s social science is a science of religion with a profound and liberating character.