Om Barthes tystnad : Ideologi, mytologi och självmytologisering
Sammanfattning: This essay seeks to explore Roland Barthes’ critique of ideology and the two notions with which ‘ideology’ is interconnected throughout his works: mythology and doxa. The primary importance of this critique, within the field of contemporary rhetoric, as I argue in this text, is to be found in its dissemination of ideological critique. Given the complex nature of the theories of Barthes, the question of his ideological critique must be asked in a twofold shape: first, the functions of the critique itself, as it unfolds throughout Barthes’ oeuvre, must be unravelled. Secondly – and this question is shown to be justified by the results of the first – the mythological structure of Barthes’ works themselves must be drawn up. Contrary to the common understanding of Barthes (the doxa, if you will), according to which his works should be split in two – early/late Barthes or structuralist/poststructuralist Barthes – I argue instead that the most informative way to understand him is by seeing his writings as always structured around a kernel: namely ideology and its critique. The splitting of Barthes oeuvre hides in part the perennial nature of this kernel. In my reading, I seek instead to show that this kernel informs the major works of Barthes (sometimes in a complex way) by two modi: the agonistic and the anti-agonistic. In turn, these modi can be understood as nodes in the mythological system that makes up Barthes’ works, which in this essay is named barthescity. For Barthes, mythologies function as second order linguistic systems, exchanging the expressed meaning of the first order systems (visible, audible) for their own. This is also the case with barthescity. This second meaning is shown to express a system of perspectives and properties that is described here as different parts of a single virtue. The virtuous aspect of barthescity, I argue, might be of use to the general public in their everyday being in our ideologically permeated world. Thus, the dissemination of ideological critique found in Barthes’ works, is consequently not to be understood foremost as the direct critique or theory used or propagated by Barthes himself, but rather as the indirect, mythological and rhetorical effect of his texts.
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