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Lecture 5

CS203 Lecture Notes - Lecture 5: Wallace Shawn, Commodity Fetishism, Proletariat

Communication Studies
Course Code
Greigory De Peuter

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Ideology and Hegemony
Power runs on ideology
Ideology has a lot of different meanings
Meanings of many terms is debated
Rex from Toy Story was voiced by Wallace Shawn, is a marxist
Wrote the fever
About commodity fetishism
Karl Marx (1818-1883)
Worked as a journalist
Bourgeoisie (capitalist class) vs proletariat (working class)
Bourgeoisie owns the means of production
Proletariat only have the means to work, sell it to capitalists
Wrote in the 1800s as industrial capitalism in England is beginning
Labour conditions in factories were poor
Proletariat is exploited by the capitalist class, not a general sense of being taken advantage f
Workers don’t receive the full economic value the time on their job generates, how the capitalists make
profit on the backs of the working class
Employment is not voluntary as most of us have few options other than to sell our capacity to work in
order to survive
Not equitable if capitalist has control of the means of production
Capitalism is not just an economic system, is a system of social relationships
Class matters most to him as a social divide
The only way to overcome capitalism is by a class conflict, inevitable part of capitalism
Someone’s class position will shape their consciousness
Our socioeconomic conditions will shape our ideas
This would spur the working class into action
A group that has a common status in the economic system
ex. all workers in an iPhone factory
A term for a group that has a shared awareness of their exploitation and band together to change
their conditions
Class struggle
No major attempts to overthrow capitalism in the past 50 years
Workers have not attempted to overthrow due to ideology
To study ideology is to study how ideas and power intersect, specifically economic power
Ideas that reproduce/perpetuate or transform/change
Different social positions are attached to different interests
Ideology as “False Consciousness”
Raymond Williams theorizes ideology as “false consciousness”, one sense of ideology
“The coat’s price come from its history, the history of all the people involved in making it….
Commodity fetishism means items have a concealed history
Invest magical powers in commodities
False or deceptive appearances
“Ideology would seem to have no other purpose than to conceal the truth of class society”
There’s a gap in capitalism between how things are and how they present themselves
Commodity vs workers
Our everyday encounters with capitalism prevent us from truly seeing it
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