Esther’s Space- journey through my life

May 1, 2007

My Theory, by Esther Prokopienko

Filed under: THEORY 330 — estherspace @ 4:38 pm

Warning: Little of this will make sense until after Friday’s class.

In Ideology and Ideological State Apparatuses (Notes towards an Investigation), Louis Althusser introduced a number of important concepts, including:

  • “children at school also learn the ‘rules’ of good behaviour, i.e. the attitude that should be observed by every agent in the division of labour, according to the job he is ‘destined’ for” (1485)
  • “All the State Apparatuses function both by repression and by ideology” (1492)
  • Every individual is released from required education with the skills to fulfill his/her responsibility as the exploited, the exploiter, or the “professional ideologist” (1495)
  • “men make themselves and alienated (=imaginary) representation of their conditions of existence because these conditions are themselves alienating” (1499)

Using Althusser’s ideas to investigate the text we have provided, we discover a number of situations in which individuals are alienated from their labors, and there is active inculcation of behaviors and knowledge by the State Aparatuses.

One of the most prominent themes available is that all of the individuals involved in this production have been seriously alienated from their labors. The group members, acting under false identities and with the additional crutch of technology, have effectively removed themselves so far from their responsibilities as students that they no longer even need to stand in front of the class to give the presentation and instead are seated throughout the room. Because they are no longer directly involved in their labors, they cannot directly reap the benefits of their hard work. Furthermore, the theorists have been even further alienated from their labors; here their labor is embodied as thoughts. Instead of the theorists representing themselves, they have been replaced by these comedic representations (which delves into Baudrillard’s ideas), and their ideas have been requisitioned for private use, without the owners being notified of the theft of their intellectual property. Furthermore, the theorists are often not even aware that their intellectual property is being used as a tool of the most influential ISA, the education system.

Specifically, within the parody we see the Cyborg Representation being pimped by a personification of Karl Marx. When Marx tells Cyborg Representation to “go work that Mickey,” she returns to him with money, of which she is not allowed to keep any. This indicates that there was an exchange (cue Rubin), yet the Cyborg did not have the rights to keep the object (money) that was exchanged for her labors. In this situation, she is being alienated from her labors by her relationship with the parodied Karl Marx.

To move backwards, this entire project is giving us the skills to fulfill our roles in society, as well as the tendency to submit to the authority of the State Apparatuses. In making a parody, we are admitting to the love and understanding we have for the theories and their authors. Yet it all becomes pastiche once you are aware that the entire goal of this final presentation to to further inculcate us into our roles as current students and future members of the labor force.

As a theorist, I agree with Althusser’s assertion that the State Apparati (is that a word?) are designed to continually replicate the system in place.  However, there is nothing to say that this system of events is necessarily the correct method for life.  The problem that we continue to face is that, as I mentioned previously, “ultimately, I am left feeling as if there is no escape from the established system and its ideology. I simply need money to live in this world, I need a job to make this money, and I need specified education to apply for any job.   The system is rather well-formed. Damn it!” (author’s blog 3/30/07).  While I would like to envision myself as a theorist that not only has concepts that explain the world, but am also capable of reforming it, there is the continual challenge that the likelihood of one person changing the world is slim.  I won’t say that we should collectively unite and form a strong coalition under a single leader, because I’m pretty sure that would be Communism and my grandparents would probably eternally bar me from Heaven.  I will however re-iterate that not only do we need to recognize the manner in which the government and our own society is influencing and forming us, but we must actively participate in life.  We should throw off this Marxist oppression of freedom when it begins to use its power not for the good of the individual or humanity in general and instead increases its own power for nothing more than sake of increasing governmental power.  Perhaps the time has come to re-evaluate the world for what is real and what is not (if that can be determined) and investigate what every party is gaining from your oppression. Not only should one learn from such an investigation, but one should also use the information to act as a catalyst for change.  I’d say ‘be all you can be‘, but I’m pretty sure the military is already using that to form their own little laborers.  So, be prudent, be smart, and don’t be a pimp, because nobody wins in that situation.

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1 Comment »

  1. […] Esther- Esther chose to read the DocuParody with her strongly Marxist individual theory. She recognized the alienation from labor that the theorists, characters, and the presenters were experiencing, as well as the fact that the entire project is part of the education system’s (predominant ISA) goal of informing the presenters of their roles in society and reforming them into submissive laborers. […]

    Pingback by It's....it's...rather bizarre! « ENG 330 Literary Criticism and Theory — May 3, 2007 @ 1:31 pm


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