Ideology, Semiotics, and Clifford Geertz: Some Russian Reflections

This article, written by a Russian cultural historian, analyzes the concept of "ideology" in the work of Clifford Geertz and his role in understanding the figurative nature of ideology as a cultural system. The author compares Geertz's semiotic approach to culture with the semiotics of culture developed by Russian theorists, particularly Yuri Lotman, showing the convergence and divergence of the two different national traditions. This understanding of the nature and functions of ideology opens new possibilities for discussing the tortured relations of ideology and literature, showing the way fiction can affect the formation of ideological systems and influence practical politics. The analysis is illustrated by examples from Russian political life of the 1990s, when revolutionary changes demanded new sets of ideological metaphors that in their turn shaped the direction of events.


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