Jan 7, 2012
- Modern/Postmodern societies characterized by persistent unequal power
- 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
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:
- Unequal power relations represented as legitimate and as being in everyone's
- 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
- Relations of domination denied, hidden, obscured (ie. gender inequality of
salaries) - Can occur when relationships of power are ignored, glossed over, taken for
o e.g. Individualize & personalize poverty -- rather than pointing to
o e.g. Practice of omission -- alternative accounts not included
- 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"
- Hegemony achieved by dividing or fragmenting potential opposition
- "Divide and rule"
- Colonial power fosters divisions and hatred between different ethnic/class
o e.g. Rwanda
- Political party -- encourage divisions between unde