Friday, October 26, 2012

MassMedia: Ideological Criticism: Basic Concepts (U5-P1) fa12

For our purposes here, ideological criticism is a particular type of rhetorical criticism.

Previously, we've gotten an idea of what criticism is.  So, what is an ideology?

  • “A system of shared meaning that represents the world for us; it gives us a common picture of of reality” (p. 296).
  • “A pattern or set of ideas, assumptions, beliefs, values, or interpretations of the world by which a culture or group operates” (Foss, p. 291).
So, an ideology shapes the way we see the world, what we pay attention to and what we do not.

What purpose does an ideology serve?  Where does an ideology come from?

  • “the process by which a social order remains stable by generating consent to its parameters through the production and distribution of ideological texts that define social reality for the majority of the people.” (from Rybacki & Rybacki, Oprah article)
What are these ideological texts?  Books, newspapers, web sites, political speeches, movies, etc.

So, these media texts develop in us an ideological perspective?

So, there are somethings we are not aware of, we don't see?

False consciousness:
  • “a failure to recognize the instruments of one's oppression or exploitation as one's own creation, as when members of an oppressed class unwittingly adopt views of the oppressor class” (American Heritage Dictionary).
So, we can live in a dominant ideology and be blind to other ways of seeing?

The Basic Argument of Ideological Criticism
  1. At the individual level, we recognize that the language that we use to describe people or things shapes the way we think/feel about those people or things and how we act toward them.
  2. “The notion of ideology takes the same idea to the level of large groups of people working together with the power of language to define and guide entire cultures” (p. 293).
  3. “When an ideology becomes hegemonic in a culture, certain interests or groups are served by it more than others – it represents the perspective of some groups more than others” (Foss, p. 294).
  4. “When an ideology becomes hegemonic through a process of accord and consent, it accumulates ‘the symbolic power to map or classify the world for others…’ It invites ‘us to understand the world in certain ways, but not in others’” (Foss, p. 295).
  5. “To maintain a position of dominance, a hegemonic ideology must be constructed, renewed, reinforced, and defended continually through the use of rhetorical strategies and practices” (Foss, p. 295).
How is the hegemonic ideology maintained? Who? With what?

Keep these basic concepts and questions in mind when watching clips from Manufacturing Consent.

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  1. Theoretically, an ideology is a set of norms and values that establishes the moral framework under which a culture or society of people co-exist. Ideologies help establish a code of ethical principles and serve as the basis for each cultures perspective of law and order.

    Historically, ideological concepts were developed, shaped, and handed down by tribal elders as a means of sustaining a community. Early man learned to hunt together and share the meat, leather, and fur of the kill in order to withstand harsh elements and living conditions. In doing so, man found that it was much easier to survive by working together rather than by attempting to exist alone.

    Rules were established to maintain a sense of order, and most were learned through trial and error. As communities became larger, more rules were applied and became consistant with social co-existence. Eventually, these "rules" were written down and became the ideologies under which certain cultures and sub-cultures lived. Such books as the Torah, The Quran, and the Bible are examples of ideological writings (or hegemonic texts).

  2. An ideology is not a bad thing since it identifies a code of ethical and moral standards. In the case of our Declaration of Independence, it establishes a standard of governance by which all citizens must live. However, there is an old axiom that states "rules are meant to be broken", and even our founding fathers had the foresight to see that as the American society changes, so must the rules of governance,

    But, the rules are established by, and will always favor those with the most power. This is confirmed by some of the earliest thinkers who felt that the masses lacked the intellectual capabilities to make far reaching decisions on their own (mass society theory). In some cases, this may be true. We certainly wouldn't want someone like Charles Mansion running the country. But, as we become a more enlightened society, every individual should have equal access to the same rights, privileges, and opportunities afforded to those in the elite status. Ultimately, this would create a change in existing ideologies.

  3. How do hegemony and false consciousness fit into this discussion of ideology-sometimes-bad?

    Who can take this question and follow up on what Terry has said?

  4. ideology is a sey og ideas that makes up a persons goals, expectations, and actions. It is a way of looking at things. Hegemony is the power of one group over another through force of ideology. I will try to answer your question based on my understanding of hegemony and ideology. Hegemony and false consiousness can sometimes be bad becausie if ideology is based on values,and beliefs not everyone beliefs and values are right or ethically good.


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