"Ideology, Cultural "Logics," and
Sites of Resistance"
Abstract: In order to address pressing issues of social justice, we need to better understand the social domain. There has been much work on how we might design just laws and institutions and distribute the products of our labor fairly. However, this is not enough, for coordination in social practices depends on there being social meanings that we rely on for communication and signaling. The social meanings are part of a system of power relations: Unjust practices rely on social meanings - an ideology - that are internalized as habits of mind that distort, obscure, and occlude important facts and result in a failure to recognize the interests of subordinated groups. I argue that to ignore the ways in which cognition is socially shaped and filtered is to allow ideology to do its work unnoticed and unimpeded. Moreover, ideology critique cannot simply challenge belief, but must involve challenges to those practices through which we ourselves become the vehicles and embodiments of ideology.
Sally Haslanger is the Ford Professor of Philosophy and Women's & Gender Studies at MIT.