Today we spent class talking about the Marxist criticism approach, as well as exploring different ideologies and the associations in which those ideologies enforce. The marxist criticism focuses on the impact of both the society and the economy in a work. This critique also pays attention to the time in which the work was produced. The history behind the literary work translate into it’s meaning and helps explore the materialistic views portrayed. We spent a large portion of class talking about was the normalization and even naturalization that ideologies can hold in societies. Ideologies can motivate societies in ways of which it’s citizens aren’t even aware; they are impactful, but also mostly invisible.
An example that stood out to me was through the Nike controversy of labor practices. As a society, we are culturally conditioned to consume. Simultaneously, we consume with a certain level of numbness and a willful ignorance that blinds us from seeing what our consumption is promoting. In this case, as we buy Nike’s and build up the brand, we also continue to oppress the hands behind the operation, the laborers. As someone who is not only wearing Nike shoes, but also a Nike shirt, I’m calling myself out as well. Dr. Scanlon put it in a way that stuck with me, “What if we came together and protested companies like Nike…things would probably change as soon as tomorrow”! For me this was eye opening, because it is so true. As citizens in a society comprised of consumerism and commodification, what if we just stopped buying things we didn’t necessarily need? Would consumerism still thrive if we called out companies? As I started looking more into this case, specifically with Nike, I found this video. While it is twenty minutes, it plays right into the Marxist criticism and pretty much all the ideologies we touched on today. It’s also a really interesting watch, even if you’re not an avid Nike consumer.
Something we didn’t talk about as much in class is the idea of false conciousness. I feel as though this directly relates to the Nike controversy because of what it is. False conciousness, or a false ideal, holds the purpose to “promote the interests of those in power” (Tyson, 56). In other words, it’s an ideal that has failed, yet hasn’t gone away. This then sparks the question of do ideals ever truly go away? Or do they just expand off of each other? Do they go away by becoming a collectively unconcious societal view? Or do they reinforce themselves within the unconcious because we don’t realize what we’re doing?