Philosophy Today


published on April 12, 2020

Jennifer Ponce de León, Gabriel Rockhill

Towards a Compositional Model of Ideology
Materialism, Aesthetics, and Cultural Revolution

This article sets forth a compositional model of ideology by drawing on the tradition of historical materialism and further developing its insights into the aesthetic composition of reality. It demonstrates how ideology is not simply a set of false beliefs but is rather the process by which social agents are composed over time in every dimension of their existence, including their thoughts, practices, perceptions, representations, values, affects, desires, and unconscious drives. By working through a number of diverse debates and authors—ranging from Karl Marx and Friedrich Engels to Louis Althusser, Eduardo Galeano, Rosaura Sánchez, and Paulo Freire—it thereby elucidates how ideology is best understood as an aesthetic process that includes aspect of sense and sense-making, and that therefore requires a collective, cultural revolution as its antidote.