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Ideology Teaches A Life Of Discipline

1568 words - 7 pages

Ideology has always remained an integral part of the domain of Cultural Studies, especially with regards to the teaching of the discipline. Cultural Studies, to a large extent focus on the emerging identities that take part within one particular culture, and often, these identities are represented by the ideologies. Although, the use of ideology as a domain of study within this field has tended to decrease in the recent years, it should be noted that it is one of the most important ‘conceptual’ category within this academic discipline. There is no doubt; however, on the idea that the role of ideology still remains a contested topic. Within cultural studies, ideology represents as the place for struggle, but often the debate rages over the idea that economic takes place within the cultural (Turner, pp. 167, 2002).
Within Cultural Studies, Althusser has been a dominant contributor towards the formation of ideas regarding ideology. Ideology tends to be identified as a system of practices along with representations which actually leads people to imagine the conditions of their life. The imaginary relationship that exists with the real conditions of people is often identified as ideology. However, the problem is that the imaginary is often shaped by the superstructure which leads us to believe that our lives are actually better than the others and what they actually ‘are’. According to Althusser, ideology is important with respect to every level of social formation in the society, which means that it is able to influence the beliefs, the practices and the imaginations of the two classes within the society (the ruling class and the sub-ordinate class), an idea borrowed from Marxist ideology (Lewis, pp. 72, 2008).
The concept of ideology for Althusser should not be confused with that of Marx’s concept, because for Marx, ideology is false consciousness, but for Althusser, it has much to do with misrecognition. However, this idea of this concept in Cultural Studies limits the critical thinking and knowing of real life conditions. Ideology represents an essential process through which individuals are able to make sense of the world around them. Subject seems to positioned and repositioned in the existing Symbolic Order. However, because of this idea of representation and how it limits the thinking of individuals, for Althusser, ideology becomes the prime factor which leads to systematic forms of oppression through the different economic and social apparatuses that exist within a particular culture. Therefore, Althusser’s concept is discussed within this particular text because it is considered the most influential within the field of Cultural Studies. There are various processes of over determination which work through numerous apparatuses, such as family, mass media and the church (Lewis, pp. 73, 2008). The ideological apparatuses are able to help in the reproduction of the dominant system which creates subjects, which remain conditioned to accept the...

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