(un)common ground

a commonplace book

Demystifying Our “Natural” Reality

[I]n a word, I resented seeing Nature and History repeatedly confused in the description of our reality, and I wanted to expose in the decorative display of what-goes-without-saying the ideological abuse I believed was hidden there.

Roland Barthes, Preface to the 1957 edition of Mythologies

A short indictment of naturalization (see Eagleton on ideology…) on semiotic grounds. For Barthes, this “what-goes-without-saying” is actually full of meaning, full of content. To dismiss it, to abuse history (that is, the socially constructed) by calling it natural is the guilt of ideology. For Barthes, semiotics is a tool to expose and demystify what we take to be natural but which is, in fact, constructed. A key role of criticism.


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This entry was posted on March 30, 2016 by and tagged , .
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