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Lecture #7 – The Social Construction of Ideas and Knowledge

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SOC 103
Kelly Train

Lecture #7 – The Social Construction of Ideas and Knowledge July 18, 2012 1. What is ideology? - Coherent world views - Not conflicting views - It’s a way of explaining how everything in the world operates - Ideology is incredibly important to explain why the world looks the way it does - Catholicism was the dominant ideology, but didn’t make any sense when economic arrangement came in play 2. Liberalism: The dominant ideology of capitalism - “Conservatives” and “Liberals” and “Democrats” are all based on Liberalism, the only different is the conservative religious views - Liberalism sells you to participate in capitalism - Liberal revolutions are revolutions “from above” – this was the new emerging capital class - There are 4 major tenants of liberal ideology: o Equality  This concept is tied entirely with the concept of Meritocracy  The idea that someone born in Rosedale and Regent Park have the same opportunities – life is what you make it  Based on the last point of individualism – that your success is based on you, not the way the system is structured o Freedom  Not synonymous with rights  They wanted freedom to compete in a free market economy  Wanted the freedom to choose o Private property o Competition  Basis of Adam Smith – free market o Individualism  The central of liberal ideology  The individual is always prioritized 3. What is Hegemony? - Antonio Gramsci – was writing from the prisons of Facsict Italy – book called “The Prison Notebooks” - He talked about how liberal ideology permeates every aspect of our society – and the way he explained it is: Elite Masses - “Common sense consciousness” - This ideology is disseminated on us so much and it becomes common sense to us 4. Mass communications, manufacturing consent - Ideas could not be disseminated other than word of mouth - Books were extremely expensive because they were hand written and copied, and took about a year to complete - To keep the knowledge within church officials, the books were written in latin, which no one but church officials spoke - Some monarchs owned books because they were wealthy, but most books were owned by the church - Martin Luther shows up and questions the way the church works. Originally, you would pray to the local priest, who would then convey your prayers to the Pope, who would then convey your prayers to god. He thought this was crazy, and how come God only understood Latin? - By 1510 Martin Luther has had it with the church - He was one of the reasons Protestant was born - 1554 – the birth of the Guttenberg Press – eliminated the monopoly the church held over ideas - The first book that was mass produced by the Guttenberg Press was the New Testament not only in Latin, but in your language - It is then used for newspapers, newsletters, and other ways of disseminating local ideas - For the first time ever, different groups of people can share ideas - 1800s – 20 century o Morse Code o Radio o Telephone – not until the 1950s o Television o Internet o Cell phones - Marshall McLuhan became the father of the study of mass communications o He was interested the most in studying how television was changing the sharing the ideas o Structural functionalist – believes that everyone needs to
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