SVA MA Design Research

SVA MA Design Research, Writing & Criticism1 is a one-year graduate program2
devoted to the study of design, its contexts & consequences.
Our graduates have gone on to pursue research-related careers in publishing, education, museums, institutes, design practice, entrepreneurship, & more.3

  1. Formerly known as D-Crit
  2. About the program
  3. Applications accepted on a rolling basis. All successful candidates awarded a significant scholarship!
SVA MA Design Research

136 W 21st St, 2nd Floor

New York, NY 10011


[email protected]




(212) 592-2228

Ideology – SVA MA Design Research

Olivia Coetzee



Feudalism. Imperialism. Marxism. Humanism. Communism. Socialism. Fascism. Suprematism. Elitism. Racism. Irrationalism. Radicalism. Conservatism. Patriotism. Feminism. Chauvinism. Sexism. Cynicism. Individualism. Narcism. Modernism. Dadaism. Cubism. Superrealism. Globalism. Consumerism. Internationalism. Nationalism. Materialism. Narcism. Populism. Postmodernism. Irrationalism. Vandalism. Cannibalism. Absurdism.

These words ending with ism, are only a handful of many ideologies. Intentionally or not, everybody has a mindset, a certain way of looking/doing/making and judging. Each person has “various sets of beliefs characteristic of social groups or individuals”.¹ Slavoj Žižek describes ideology as “our spontaneous relation to our social world”,² while Louis Althusser states that “an ideology is a system of representations (images, myths, ideas or concepts, depending on the case) endowed with a historical existence and role within a given society”.³

“Ideology is strong exactly because it is no longer experienced as ideology… we feel free because we lack the very language to articulate our unfreedom.” – Žižek.

Unfreedom. Another ideology. We live in a world that is constantly sorting people, ideas and concepts. The first connotation “ideology” brings to my mind, is a few very divergent types of people, world leaders (Fascism, Elitism, Communism) and artists (Surrealism, Dadaism, Cubism). Either way, they were devout followers and defenders of their ideas. Ideology is such an organic part of every social totality,³ people cling fervently to their own set of beliefs (individualism) – even the people who claim not to be.²

“Only an ideological world outlook could have imagined societies without ideology and accepted the utopian idea of a world in which ideology (not just one of its historical forms) would disappear without trace…”  – Althusser.