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Lecture

Ideology

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Department
Sociology
Course
SOCI 100
Professor
Debra Pentecost
Semester
Winter

Description
Soci100 Jan 7, 2012 Ideology - Modern/Postmodern societies characterized by persistent unequal power relations - Look at role of mass media in perpetuating inequality o Either sustaining or challenging o Why do people accept power relations and not rise up against it? Importance of Ideology in Post 9/11 world - With so-called "war on terror" o Iraq, Afghanistan... media organizations on various sides disseminate misinformation/propaganda, about US/the West/the Islamic world - Ideologically loaded terms used by mass media professionals (often in unreflective way) The Obvious & Not-So-Obvious - With coverage of war, audience more likely looking for ideological inflection - Much ideological activity takes place "unwittingly" - Need to consider how ordinary, everyday media content plays ideological role - How? It tells stories about power relationships J.B. Thompson, 1990: How is Ideological Domination Achieved? - Ideology functions through: 1. Legitimation - Unequal power relations represented as legitimate and as being in everyone's best interest - Works through process of universalization o In spite of material differences, present economic/political system seen to benefit all or has potential to benefit all o I.e. Politician running for office may say that taxation gradation will benefit everyone rather than benefiting only a small group o I.e. Capitalism was put forward as the best ideology for everyone to combat against Soviet Communism 2. Dissimulation - Relations of domination denied, hidden, obscured (ie. gender inequality of salaries) - Can occur when relationships of power are ignored, glossed over, taken for granted o e.g. Individualize & personalize poverty -- rather than pointing to structural causes o e.g. Practice of omission -- alternative accounts not included 3. Unification - Hegemonic r dominant ideology - Unifies members into collective entity - Usually in opposition to real or imagined "enemy" - Deflects attention from unequal power between rulers & ruled - Examples of unification: threat of terrorism, threat from immigrants - Common terms to unify: "community" "society" "we" - Use of "othering" discourses so it is clear who is "us" and who is "them" 4. Fragmentation - Hegemony achieved by dividing or fragmenting potential opposition - "Divide and rule" - Colonial power fosters divisions and hatred between different ethnic/class groups o e.g. Rwanda - Political party -- encourage divisions between unde
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