Friday, October 26, 2012

MassMedia: Ideological Criticism: How to Do Ideological Criticism (U5-P4) fa12

How to Do Ideological Criticism (Foss)

“The primary goal of the ideological critic is to discover and make visible the dominant ideology or ideologies embedded in an artifact and ideologies that are being muted in it” (Foss, p. 295-296).

  • Step 1: Formulate RQ
    • What is the ideology embodied in this artifact?
    • What are the implication of this ideology?
    • What are the alternative ideologies not expressed?
    • Are there aspects of the artifact that support emancipation? Etc.
  • Step 2: Select Unit of Analysis
    • What specific aspect(s) of the artifact will you focus on?
  • Step 3: Analyzing the Artifact
    • Identification of Nature of Ideology
      • What does the artifact ask the audience to believe, understand, feel or think about?
      • What are the arguments made in the artifact?
      • What is seen as good or valued?
      • What ideologies are hidden?
    • Identification of Interests Included
      • What is the power structure and what groups are supported?
    • Identification of Strategies in Support of Ideology
      • How does the rhetoric legitimize the ideology and interests of some groups over others?
      • How exactly is the dominant ideology supported?
      • How exactly are alternative ideologies hidden?

Source: Rhetorical Criticism: Exploration and Practice

Have any rhetorical texts you might analyze using ideological criticism?  What do you think you'd find?

Share this post with others. See the Twitter, Facebook and other buttons below.
Please follow, add, friend or subscribe to help support this blog.
See more about me at my web site


  1. During my leisure time, I enjoy reading Elmore Leonard, John Grisham, and James Patterson. Thinking back, their is quite a bit of ideological criticism embedded into their works. I'd be taking a deeper look at any of their writings. Leonard seems to be a master at grasping cultural colloquialisms, and Grisham, although the bulk of his works involve legal suspense, is great at taking readers into worlds they may not be familiar with. However, all three seem to integrate deeper messages into the surface story (particularly in Grisham's 'The Street Lawyer'). These may not necessarily represent rhetorical writings, but I believe there exist rhetorical contexts.

    1. Are you seeing these works of fiction as artifacts (or texts) to be studied?

      Ideological criticism would be an analysis of a text that promotes a certain ideology.

      In the case of one of my recent articles, the film and novel by the same name, "Kiss the Girls," were the texts or artifacts being studied. My article was the ideological criticism.

      I have some further thoughts, but will stop here and wait here for some further comment from Terry or anybody else.


Thank you for your comment.
Your comment will be reviewed.
If acceptable, it will be posted after it is carefully reviewed. The review process may take a few minutes or maybe a day or two.