The rushed completion is apparent in the text.
The last two
chapters are full of unfinished discussions, postponements,
and at one point four pages of barely digested quotation
Unattributed page references are to the Macquarrie and
Robinson translation of ‘Being and Time’, published by
I put the term ‘Spirit’ in brackets, not because Heidegger
overtly equates Being with Spirit, but because the Hegelian
undertone is always there. See, for example, B&T, p480ff;
IM, p37, etc.
The English translation has a misprint here.
It is clear that most of the material Heidegger had intended
for the other sections was eventually published (e.g. KPM,
ER, ET, WM, IM).
What he never pursued was any systematic
The rot set in with the Romans, who simply could not understand the subtlety of Greek thought and debased it by their
translations into Latin (OWA, p23).
See IM, p47.
Heidegger exploits the German: my existence is necessarily my
‘own’ (eigen); if I recognise it as such I become ‘authentic’
He in fact uses the expression very loosely.
It is extremely
unclear h~w existentials are to be identified, how they are
interrelated, and how they combine into some structural whole.
Ironically, he is taking Husserl’s concept of a ‘founded
mode’ (see the ‘Logical Investigations’) and turning it against
It should be clear by now that what Heidegger means by ‘world’
is essentially ‘lived-world’ – the ‘Lebenswelt’ of Dilthey
and latterly Husserl.
Heidegger is not envisaging reciprocal relationships.
my article in RP21.
Macquarrie and Robinson use the word ‘they’ to translate
Heidegger’s ‘man’ – the impersonal form of the verb. The
deficiency of-rhis translation is that ‘they’ specifically
excludes me, while ‘man’ specifically includes me.
have preferred to translate it as ‘one’.
A reference to the then newly popular psycho-analysis, amongst
Nichtigkeit. Macquarrie and Robinson translate it as ‘nullity’
Cf. Sartre, ‘Being and Nothingness’, I, Ch.1; also Husserl,
Note that Heidegger does not specify how this ‘rapture’
enables us to recognize possibilities.
Male Fantasies · Capitalism – Sexism – Fascism
Klaus Theweleit, M~nnerphantasien, Vol.1,
Frankfurt-a-M., 1977, Vol.2, ibid. 1978.
NOT: he made the earth subject to him
because he could not have his mother (as
Freud says), BUT: he returned to his
mother because he was not allowed to use
the earth productively.
Both parts of a new book on Fascism have
been out in West Germany for over a year now
and have been the subject of enthusiastic
discussion second only to the response given
to Rudolf Bahro’s work.
It is something we
should know about in Britain. Klaus
Theweleit, the author, belongs to the student movement generation of the late sixties
and became known almost overnight when he
published his thesis on male fantasies, on
the psychology and sexual imagery of fascism.
‘We have been asking those who say they
understood all about Fascism (but who did
not have the ability to defeat it) too many
questions, and asking the Fascists themselves too few’, says Theweleit.
many a tome from the German Left, his ideas
are guided less by programmatic theory than
by pointed aphorisms, of which he has invented many, providing quotable quotes for
The lack of theorising is
Theweleit’s thoughts have
an urgency which has made people feel the
need to come to terms with them.
made a personal, and not just an intellectual, impact on those in Germany who, like
Theweleit himself, need to understand their
own fathers – all the little nazis of their
parents’ generation. He wants to understand
Fascism through the Fascists. Perhaps he
makes one common but questionable assumption
right from the beginning, namely that they
were all men.
The book consists of two volumes.
grew out of an essay on the white terror of
anti-republican forces during the revolu-
tionary struggles which took place in
Germany between 1918 and 1920, the year of
the Kapp Putsch. These were the German
equivalent to the Black and Tans, being
volunteer brigades formed from the remnants
of the Wilheminian army.
For the political
destiny of the Weimar Republic it was crucial that these men were professional soldiers who were literally unemployed and looking for work, not just revenge, at a time
when the Treaty of Versailles restricted the
size of the German Army. What Theweleit is
interested in is that their social position
as professional soldiers was also their
They had been bred
to live in an archetypally male world.
Looking at the psyches of a number of officers
from these brigades (the Freikorps) through
biographies and novels they wrote themselves
or which were written about them~ Theweleit
traces how completely they were blocked off
from the reality of women, how they had to
imagine women in one or another stereotype
in order to perceive them at all.
figures he takes from the Freikorps include
two men who later went entirely different
ways: Rudolf H~ss joined the SA after his
brigade was disbanded by law and his career
ended with him running Ausschwitz; at the
other extreme, Martin Niem~ller abandoned
the military life to study theology and
spent the years between 1937 and 1945 in
Theweleit found clues
for these careers in the archetypes of women
which appear in their writings.
for them have entered the language of the
Left in Germany to signify ways if viewing
On the side of the Whites women
appear as nurses, mothers and sisters
devoid of sexual identity and personality;
on the side of the Reds they are seen as
castrating amazons and whores, whose sexual
independence is synonymous with the political aggression of the enemy.
M~nnerphantasien has been welcomed first
and foremost as fresh ground in understanding the genesis of National Socialism.
is also full of new directions about sexual
oppression, the oppression of women and in
The psychological shapes of historYand their political functions, the kind of
feelings and fantasies people had – these
are his subject. The sexism of Fascism is
nothing new to us.
But Fascism seen as an
historical case of sexist culture and psychology does bring fresh material not only on
the hold which National Socialism exercised
over minds and feelings, but also on phenomenal forms of the male personality in
patriarchal society through thp example of
Nazi acolytes and progenitors.
It is the
coupling of the investigation which makes
Theweleit’s work so original.
A nation which oppresses another cannot
itself be free, and the sex which oppresses
the other is itself ill.
not at women, but rather at the men whom the
oppression of women produces. He asks what
forms and shapes the sickness takes in men
of the extreme Right, exploring as a literary detective how such men wrote about the
terror they perpetrated.
From the way they
expressed themselves he deduces the common
denominator which lies in the psychological
structure of each of his cases.
this he uses the concept from radical psychoanalytical theory, namely from Deleuze’ and
Guattari’s Anti-Oedipus, of an incompletely
formed ego which never achieves a sense of
the autonomous self and is dependent on
authority outside itself.
Never certain of
feeling himself, physically and mentally, as
a separate, individual human form, such a
man is so tightly bound in within his body
that he can only rid it of anxiety and tension when he abandons himself in the mental
black-out of slaughter.
Theweleit calls this type the ‘armouredbody’ (Panzerk~rper).
This is another term
of his which has entered the language in
West Germany to talk about the symptoms of
What produced this
soldier-type in the early 20th century? To
answer this question, Theweleit tries to
interpret the entire history of men and
women’s dehumanised relations with each
other, which lies behind his specific case
of the soldier-males produced by Wilheminian
The premise of his historical
summary is that women are enslaved in order
to stifle the will to freedom of all subject
The force of production which we
all nakedly possess – thinking in psychoanalytical language – that of the unconscious, has been suppressed throughout
The period of the rise of Capitalism in Western Europe brought particular
forms of this suppression which produced the
extreme alienation of women.
argument is that the disintegrating feudal
world released the human capacity to learn
and explore the world freely, spiritually
and geographically, from its medieval bounds.
But Capitalism required that this exploration take place in the interests of profit,
and the creative, productive force of the
unconscious had to be reincarcerated.
were the victims of the form this took, perverted into sexualised creatures who no
longer had bodies for working and mothering,
but ones which were projections of the minds
of men, who should have been getting on with
the business of ridding themselves of the
In other words, Theweleit uses the idea
that women were the material of the patriarchal pact between the aristocracy and the
bourgeoisie, in Germany in particular,
draining the middle-class of its strength as
a revolutionary social force.
this sounds trite.
I certainly think some
work needs to be done here.
Is it not
equally plausible to reverse the cause and
effect of this argument? If the bourgeois
class had been strong enough as a social
force, it would not have needed to make use
of women this way. Theweleit depicts how
with changing fashion and the removal of
bourgeois women from production, women’s
bodies were sexualised for men.
are cases where early Capitalism did not
need the aristocratic pact, where men’s and
women’s bodies were emptied of images for-one another, as in Quakerism and American
radical and puritan communities.
I think we stumble over Theweleit’s ideas
at this point because it is essential to his
approach that he allows metaphor to have
real social meaning. He looks through
images of women as water, rivers and dams
from the arts and literature to try and
grasp an ideological process.
make women into that which absorbs and
flows, unreal and non-corporeal; Theweleit
takes this literally as an expression of the
historical part women were made to play,
turned into fantasies to absorb and deflect
the advancing class from its own emancipation.
Such are the ideological motions of the
Capitalist era, the logic of which governs
the particular phenomena Theweleit wants to
look at when he returns to his Wilheminian
militarised men. Capitalism has advanced
and women are by now tightly trussed up in
ribbons and lace, sops for the freedom mislaid at the beginning of the age.
The argument causally links the political requirements of the Imperial State with educational
ideology and child-rearing amongst the
classes which served that state. The age in
which mothers were not motherly, when babies
were not loved and caressed, produced the
armoured-body type of the unformed ego.
Theweleit thinks that Freud was wrong and
that the Oedipal triangle was historically
untypical in this era.
Far from desiring
their mothers, middle-class and aristocratic
boys never knew the warmth of their mothers’
For the Reich needed soldiers, not
sons, and these Prussian boys were reared in
cadet-schools, not in the family.
they grew up to be were psychologically so
constituted that they were bound to react to
the collapse of the Reich and the rise of
revolution from its ashes with the hysteria
of the Freikorps, whose psychoses culminated
in National Socialism.
Theweleit’s stress on the physical moment
of their reactions, on choking libido, is
the most pressing of his premises.
Reich, he sees political behaviour in its
What did all the
little nazis feel when they assembled for
Hitler, what sensations did they experience
in their bodies? Theweleit is convinced
that it was a physical sensation.
The sexual meanings of some Nazi concepts and
rituals – Flihrer and Volk, the centrality of
rallies, the importance of rhetoric – are
increasingly exposed as a critique of
phallus-centred sexuality altogether, where
the male is excited only by his own power of
This he counterposes to what free
and exploratory sexual experience could be,
thinking aloud about its possibilities.
Theweleit wants us to think about them too.
Analysing the ideology and psychology of
Fascism can only progress hand in hand with
a radical understanding of our own sexuality.
His methodological challenge is synonymous
with a political one.
This book is deliberately full of questions.
We are bound to ask some more,
further to its own terms of reference, which
explore mechanisms of the proto-fascist
psyche but do not aim to answer questions
such as: what happened to those revolutionary masses of 1918-19 who gave the Wilheminian officer such a fright; and how did
National Socialism tighten its grip over all
strata of German society, not just the remnants of the Imperial State? As Theweleit
is dealing with the sexes as his subject, he
leaves it unclear where class comes in.
Whilst he uses historical materialist tenets
on the role of the bourgeoisie, thereafter
he describes the relations between ruling
classes and ruled ontologically rather than
This itself arises from the
necessarily subjective nature of his material.
He is talking about the body, and as
it is very difficult to talk about how a
whole group of men perceived their bodies,
he uses a method-mix to find what he can
designate the soldier-male.
He takes a
literary-critical interpretative approach
to writings by and about these men and then
uses psycho-analytical terms to reconstruct
the psychic biography of his subjects on the
basis of his interpretations of their literature.
It is really a suggestive method,
producing analyses which are pregnant with
possibilities of explanation, showing us
patterns through which we can begin to discern ,how the psychology of these men was
What Theweleit’s book is not about is the
political character of the National Socialist
What it is about is how a core of
males were psychologically ripe for that
political form at that time because it
offered them a sensory fulfilment they were
starved of, quite apart from a means of earning their living again.
Because he understands these individuals as points in the
history of sexual oppression, Theweleit’s
work gives us a new tradition for the historical conception of our psychology and our
St.Elmo Nauman, Jr. Dictionary of Asian
Philosophies, Routledge and Kegan Paul,
1979, 372pp, £7.50 hc, £4.25 pb
There have been many beneficial consequences
of the enormously increased interest in
Asian thought over the last thirty years,
but attempts to rectify misleading stereotypes remain a Sisyphean struggle in which
scholarly expertise has as often as not
perpetuated and recreated ancient mythologies.
St. Elmo Nauman Jr. is a compiler of
dictionaries, his previous efforts having
been directed towards American philosophy
For this new book his
courage, ambition, and fortitude may be
cited in consideration of the difficulty of
But these qualities do not invariably produce good results, and in this
case an otherwise potentially useful collection is often marred by crude and dilettantish generalisations and an unnecessary
tendency towards flippancy.
The rock mainly rolls backwards over
N;:l.uman through his handl ing of some of the
most basic issues in the interpretation of
Working from what appear
to be very limited sources, and despite self·
conscious attempts at objectivity (e.g. ten
mostly biographical pages on Mao Zedong), he
often succumbs to an obvious idealist bias
in presentations of individuals and schools
Various attempts at pro toscientific thinking in early Indian material
ism (Carvaka) and Chinese Taoism are wholly
ignored, and both of these philosophies
Indeed, he does
not even seem to have consulted Joseph
Needham’s Science and Civilisation in China,
incomparably the greatest historical work on
early Chinese thought in any western language.
Nor does he seem familiar with
Debiprasad Chattopadhyaya’s Lokayata, or
K.K. Mittal’s more recent Materialism in
Indian Thought, both of which argue against
the dominant dogma (represented in the works
of Radhakrishnan and Dasgupta) of a uniform
and proponderant idealist spiritualism in
pre-Buddhistic Indian thinking.
Deficiencies such as these seriously
underscore the illusory character of the
enhanced authority and objectivity often
presumed in the title of ‘dictionary’.
There are other glaring inadequacies as well
Dharma, one of the central concepts in
Indian thought, is given only eight lines of
definition, although there are almost four
pages on John Dewey in China.
define ‘Consciousness’ in all Asian thought.
Eight lines discuss ‘Epistemology’, and this
is only in reference to India, though
Nauman’s scope is ostensibly Chinese, Indian
Islamic, and Judaic philosophy.
In addition various redundancies (e.g.
two statements each of the ‘Four Noble
Truths’ and the ‘Eightfold Path’ of Buddhism
and distracting additions (there are many
underemployed graduates in modern Burma)
reveal poor editing and the generally haphazard nature of the author’s approach.
There are some redeeming qualities,
The section on ‘Hinduism’ does
recognise the contradictory nature of the
polyglot assembled under this name.
Japanese thinkers are given greater coverage than
has often been the case.
There is some
mention of political philosophy (Han Fei Tzu
and the Chinese Legalists, but no discussion
of the enormously influential Indian statesman Kautalya).
A great deal of information
is contained in the book.
But most of this is readily accessible
elsewhere in English, albeit in a less condensed but also in a less misleading form.
In the face of great adversity – for the
task is a nightmare to any exacting scholar
Nauman’s attempt is admirable.
final product leaves a great deal to be
J Larrain, The Concept of Ideology,
Hutchinson, 1979, £7.05 hc
This is a really useful book.
written what is undoubtedly the best and
clearest account to date of the history of
the concepts of ideology.
Better by far
than Plekcnatz’s ‘Key Concepts’, for example.
Much more intelligible that the Birmingham
Centre’s ‘On Ideology’.
Bacon’s theory of ‘idols’ that interfere
with rational enquiry, he moves through a
series of insightful studies of major
th~orists and traditions which have tried
to theorise ideology.
My main regret about it – it is not a
criticism, since the book is valuable enough
in its own terms – is that, for all
Bottomore’s prefatory claims, Larrain does
not really progress beyond a critical history of ideas. At no point does he draw
general criteria out from his critique of
individuals that would help us build an
Each theorist is by and
large tested for the internal adequacy of
his/her own project.
He does start, it is true, with four
general parameters within which he sees
theories moving: ‘false consciousness’ vs.
world-view; psychologically vs. objectively
generated; restrictive vs. all-embracing
views of ideology; and the science-ideology
But the book seems to keep
returning to these, rather than developing
The result is that each study remains
The consequence for a reviewer is that it
is only possible to comment via individual
Except that it does raise
questions about inclusions and exclusions.
Why, for example, does Comte get extended
treatment, with his funny ideas about the
‘three stages’ of human development? Why,
by contrast, does Kant – whose philosophy of
the construction of knowledge was a major
precursor of modern theories of ideology get only negative mention? Larrain does a
standard job on Kant, leaving a distinct
impression that Kant is not much use because
of things like the ‘ding-an-sich’. This is
standard sociological wisdom, and may be
But I would want to ask: given Kant’s
direct influence on important thinkers like
Durkheim and Weber, and given the strength
of his alternative to empiricism, is it
right to be so quickly dismissive of him?
Larrain also chooses to miss out the
continuing empiricist tradition of discussing ideology, in Naess, Bell, Popper and
Feuer: the modern Baconians. His criteria
for selection reveal, I think, the extent of
the influence of the Birmingham Centre for
Contemporary Cultural Studies who have
filtered sociology, and recently linguistics
for the insights they felt they needed
The irony is that I find his most useful
discussions are of people that this tradition has not much talked about.
Barthes, or Kristeves, but Durkheim and
Pareto for example. His discussion of
Mannheim is the best that I have read,
managing for once to place the ‘free-floating intelligentsia’ argument in a whole
It is a pity, then, that he does
not use his sharp understanding of these
theorists to test his own tradition. Pareto
for example, with his view of the relation
between residues and derivations, is a
serious challenge to the Marxist tradition,
because of his emphasis on the post-factum
justification of interests.
Why must a
Marxist disagree with Pareto? It would have
been useful to ask.
In the same way, his brilliant analysis
of Mannheim really brings together the
they of ideology and utopia with the actual
analyses of conservatism, for example.
Rightly he shows how, as a consequence,
ideologies and utopias can only be identified retrospectively. But his attempt to
state why this must be so reveals a problem:
‘According to Mannheim, both ideology and
utopia distort reality in so far as their
ideas do not fit into reality.
kinds of thought are not adequate or
“situationally congruous”; ideology
because it conceals reality, utopia
because it exceeds its limits’ (pl14).
These ideas of ‘reality’ being ‘concealed’
are not explored or explained . . They keep
cropping up throughout the book.
Larrain gone on to reuse the Mannheim example he himself had earlier worked in so
well, I think he could have opened up this
whole problematic area: in what senses could
late feudal ‘opposition to interest on loans
either ‘conceal reality’ or ‘exceed its
The recurrence of such themes of ‘being’
and ‘consciousness’, terms which lefty sociologists have been prone to use but which
should embarrass philosophers, shows where
Larrain stops short.
He has no epistemology
In the end, he uses epistemological notions because he finds them useful
to reach general political conclusions that
The notions themselves are not
scrutinised. This shows, for example, in
his discussion of Lukacs:
‘Lukacs does not realise that for Marx the
ideological inversion corresponds to a
real inversion of the social relations,
not only to the inversion of their
appearances. One can find in Lukacs an
overemphasis on the role which the subject plays through its consciousness in
the origin of ideology.’ (p80)
This comment retains a ‘we all know’ flavour
because the concept of the ‘subject’, no
matter how often it reappears, is never explored.
(In the same way, I’m very tempted
to use as a seminar-started his unexplained
statement (p44) that ‘reality is a result of
human historical action’.)
All these critical points do not, for me,
detract from the usefulness of the book.
This lies, first, in the clarity of his
presentation of the various approaches to
ideology, and his critical discussion of
each. Secondly, it lies in the questionopening form of many of his comments. For
example, he criticises (p120) Goldmann’s
attempt in the critique of literature to
distinguish that which is expressive of a
worldview of a class, from non-significant
He objects that there are no
criteria for making such a distinction in
practice, and therefore Goldmann has to do
That may well be true, but
may we not need the distinction anyway? Or
are all works of literature equally and in
the same way ideological? If I disagree
with Larrain’s conclusion, I shall have to
think about how criteria might be developed.
Once again, an enormously useful book.
THE CUTS AT NELP
‘Is it coincidental that the management of
North East London Polytechnic wants to
bury the humanities and social science
departments, which have traditionally
produced some of the poly’s more meddlesome members of staff, and is at the same
time courting NATO for financial support
and backing for a new course in war
This pertinent question was asked by Time
Out (February 29 – March 6 1980) which goes
on-to quote NELP assistant director, and
former wing-commander, Colin Milner, as saying he would like to see counter-insurgency
and the use of the military to aid the civil
powers being studied in the proposed course.
As many of our readers will by now know,
a working party of the board of governors of
NELP produced a report early this year which
advocated by far the most sweeping and draconian cuts in staffing and services yet
seen in the higher education sector since
the Tories came to office.
The cuts are to
include dissolution of the facilities of
Humanities and Environmental Studies, and
the closure of the Departments of Sociology,
Applied Economics, and Mathematics, and of
the Humanities part of the School of Education and Humanities.
with student counselling, services for disabled students, and the Poly’s only two
autonomous research centres are also for the
Finally, higher student/staff ratios
are to be imposed in the remaining departments.
These cuts if fully implemented would
cost more than 280 teaching staff jobs, over
200 non-teaching staff jobs, and up to 300
job-losses in the local areas due to reduced
The working party justifies
the proposed cuts primarily in terms of an
estimated shortfall of over £3 million on
estimates for 1980-81, because of Government
Although some of this shortfall may be met by the three local authorities involved, an estimated deficit of some
£2.45 million remains.
The recognised unions have been fighting
a united, vigorous, and well-argued campaign
against the cuts.
They explicitly reject
the necessity for cuts of any kind, but go
on to point out that the Governors’ working
party, having accepted the need for cuts,
imposes a massive change in the whole aca-
demic and educational shape of the institution without further rationale.
the alternative plans? Where are the reasons for selecting this rather than some
other pattern of cuts? The THES quotes
Poly Director Dr Brosan as arguing that
‘If any courses must be closed they must
surely be those for which there is national
over-provision, for which the quantity and
quality of recruitment is declining, or
which do not suit the needs of the new
As the Unions point out, comparison of these criteria, on any reasonable
interpretation, with the actual pattern of
proposed cuts, makes a nonsense out of the
Among the closures and
departments and courses which are among the
most popular in recruitment terms, and the
Many are also highly
vocational, and/or offer indispensable
service and back-up to other vocational
The unions have also criticised the almost complete lack of clear costing of the
proposals in relation to the financial
situation of the Poly.
On the analysis
provided by the unions, any ‘economies’
achieved by the cuts in the Poly will have
adverse economic effects for the local
community, as well as for the funding local
authorities themselves, as rent and rate
income, jobs and services which are directly
or indirectly dependent upon the activities
of the Poly are lost.
Finally, the unions
have pointed to the complete lack of prior
consultation, not only with the unions, but
also with the Academic Board of the Poly.
The events at NELP illustrate several
important features of our situation in
higher education as well as providing valuable lessons in resisting the cuts. First,
the unity achieved by the unions is exemplary, as is the quality of their analyses
and written responses.
There is a vital
need, now, to coordinate support for alJ
those under threat at NELP.
Second, we can see quite clearly in the
lack of any plausible publicly expressed
rationale for these cuts, beyond an assumed
financial necessity, that the financial
crisis of higher education is being used as
a cover for a radical restructuring which
has quite other motivations.
climate of uncertainty, division, and pessimism among students and staff is the condition of possibility for this restructuring
to be imposed with minimal resistance from
Fortunately, the strategy seems not