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History and Symbols in Ideology: A Jamaican Example

Diane J. Austin
Man
New Series, Vol. 14, No. 3 (Sep., 1979), pp. 497-514
DOI: 10.2307/2801871
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/2801871
Page Count: 18
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History and Symbols in Ideology: A Jamaican Example
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Abstract

Maurice Bloch (1977) makes a distinction between ritual and normal communication, and suggests that this distinction is equivalent to that Marx made between ideology and knowledge. This article accepts Bloch's distinction, but questions the manner in which it is made. An analysis of Jamaican class ideology is used to show that ritual communication as an aspect of social control, pervades even `practical' activity, and therefore should be seen as a possible dimension in all thought whatever the type of society. This conclusion brings into question whether or not Bloch should tie his distinction to one between ideology and knowledge, which may not, after all, be the most useful distinction in studies of consciousness and class.

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