I did my degree in Comparative Literature Studies and my dissertation was entitled, `Ideologies and their functions in Literature`, which was based on Angela Carter`s book `Burning your Boats`. Her work is classified as representative of the literary genre of `magic realism`, a classification she would no doubt have fiercely disagreed with as it is the placement of an individual within a category. Her narrative opposes such formations and claims to be anti-ideological. This, however, is not strictly true as her work is rather to be positied as an investigation of ideological paradigms. The themes in Carters work reveal her intense fascination with the Freudian unconscious. Carter may have re-imagined the fairy tale but her work is not just an exercise of imagination, her work is political and is not confined only to feminine politics but reflects psycho -social concerns, in particular does it reproduce `a psychological` ideology in which the will of the individual is subordinated to family and society. In her writing she challenges the boundaries of accepted social and cultural paradigms which prompts the reader to reflect on their own life fictions.
While studying and close reading her re-working of the traditional fairy tale in the context of their ideological heritage I became so fascinated with the unconscious processes at work which construct our identity , which is what Angela Carter attempts to reveal in her work, that I decided to carry on the study of these unconscious processes after completion of my degree.
Wanting to find out how these ideological paradigms operate in structuring our everyday reality I began to study myself to see whether my sense of identity ,both as a woman and as a person had been defined for me, and imposed on me through an unconscious process over which I had no control by a society sustained by a false order of consciousness. This false consciousness can be described as consensual reality, it is the reality which we all unconsciously live by because it has been accepted as objective fact, rather than as a subjective perception of truth. Subjective perception often acts as a kind of ordering, or lets say organising principle which unfortunately often bears no relation to the facts, but does allow us to make some kind of sense of the world by creating a world view. This world view is most times erroneous and I like to call the perceptions that make up our world view ` life fictions`. These life fictions unconsciously control us, and therefore run our lives as our decisions are often based on these unconscious forces, that is until the time comes when we decide to make these unconscious forces (life fictions) conscious. It is not until we become aware of these unconscious processes at work that we can hope to have any control over our own lives.
I think it would be a good idea at this point to define Ideology in order to avert any misunderstandings which might arise......
Ideology is a set of assumptions with which people identify, and these form a construct which directs and sustains both choice and purposive behaviour, effectively creating what seems to be a true living relationship of people to reality. It is, in fact, a false consciousness. In adopting the ideology, the individual must also accept the limits which that ideology imposes on him or her. Overcoming the power of ideological anchoring is not an easy task but it is the task to which this blog is dedicated.