Thursday, October 24, 2013

MassMedia: Ideological Criticism: Basic Concepts (U8-P1) Fa13

Key questions that you should keep in mind when covering this unit: (1) What is ideological criticism? (2) How do you do an ideological critique of a film?  (3) What film would you do an ideological critique of and why?

An now, for our main feature...

Ideological Criticism:

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?

And now to some related terms.

1. Hegemony:
  • “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?

2. 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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