Summarizing The Desire for Mutual Recognition

Chapter 5: Language, Thought, Ideology

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This chapter describes the way that the the false self's representation of itself "as if it were real" is carried over into the world of language and thought "about" the social world as a whole. The chapter begins by showing the way that the child learns language based upon a prior apprehension of intuitively grasped social meanings which reflect "the level of alienation"  in his or her pre-linguistic experience. This analysis is then linked to how ideology itself draws down upon the balance of desire and alienation in lived experience a "legitimating grid" that serves to secure the false self and the alienated matrix of social life against the longing of desire that seek at every moment to transcend it. The chapter concludes with a detailed discussion of The Law as an example of this process, contrasting the feudal and liberal legal systems. Many examples are given to enliven the descriptions of the relationship between lived experience on the one hand and language and ideology on the other.

Peter Gabel