Spectres of Stirner: a Contemporary Critique of Ideology

Newman, Saul. 2001. Spectres of Stirner: a Contemporary Critique of Ideology. Journal of Political Ideologies, 6(3), pp. 309-330. ISSN 1356-9317 [Article]

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This paper examines Max Stirner's significance for contemporary theories of ideology. Stirner was one of the first to develop a radical political critique of ideology. In a time when the 'end of ideology' thesis has gained ground, both through post-structuralist and normative theories, Stirner's critique allows us to breathe new life into the concept of ideology. I will examine Stirner's logic of spectrality as a crucial counterpart to Marx's critique of ideology, arguing that this is critical for any understanding of the operation of modern ideological mechanisms. This logic allows us to go beyond both essentialist and structuralist theories of ideology, which have hitherto limited our understanding of the concept and led to its premature demise in our contemporary political imaginary. By exploring Stirner's critique of humanism, essential identities, and state power, I construct a critique of ideology that avoids essentialist categories, yet allows an extra-ideological standpoint from which ideology may be resisted.

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Date Deposited:

11 Aug 2015 13:23

Last Modified:

30 Jun 2017 12:21

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Yes, this version has been peer-reviewed.



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