The False consciousness reference article from the English Wikipedia on 24-Apr-2004
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False consciousness

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False consciousness is a Marxist concept which argues that the proletariat tends to be misguided as to its place in the class structure. More specifically, it is the belief that within the structures of capitalism, there is a disjunction between the real state of affairs and the way they phenomenally appear; for instance, in the wage contract. An example of this would be commodity fetishism - that people only concentrate on the point of value at the point of exchange, e.g. that a shirt costs $15, and begin seeing the shirt itself as having inherent value, and not seeing the process of production that valorized value into the shirt.

Friedrich Engels wrote in 1893 that:

'Ideology is a process accomplished by the so-called thinker. Consciously, it is true, but with a false consciousness. The real motive forces impelling him remain unknown to him; otherwise it simply would not be an ideological process. Hence he imagines false or seeming motive forces'.

There is no evidence that Marx himself ever actually used the phrase "false consciousness". It appears to have been used - at least, in print - only by Engels. (See Terry Eagleton, Ideology: An Introduction (London: Verso, 1991), p. 89.)

The doctrine of false consciousness has also been used by Marxist feministss in regard to other women.