How media texts shape the way we think about the world as cultural, political, and social beings
Culture can be described as the collection of artifacts, practices, and beliefs of a particular
group of people at a particular historical moment, supported by symbolic systems and directed
Culture is ideological The cultures we inhabit teach us to see the world in some ways and not
Cultures give rise to ideologies and ideologies influence how individual members of the culture
see the world
Ex: The majority of cultures in Renaissance Europe did not perceive madness as a problem.
It existed as a constant in daily life, a factor as unpreventable and prevalent as death
What is it?
Ideology: a system of ideas that unconsciously shapes and constrains both our beliefs and
Ideology is the sets of beliefs underlying the customs, habits, and practices common to a
given culture. To members of that culture, the beliefs seem obviously true, natural, and
universally applicable. They may seem just as obviously arbitrary, idiosyncratic, and false to
those who adhere to another ideology. Within any culture, numerous ideologies coexist;
some are marginalized, others are hegemonic (i.e. dominant and the cultural norm).
Ideologies may be forcefully imposed or willingly subscribed to. Their component beliefs
may be held consciously or unconsciously
What does it do?
1. It limits the range of acceptable and even conceivable ideas.
2. It normalizes (e.g., naturalizes) particular sets of social relations.
3. It privileges some interests over others.
4. It interpellates individuals into subjects.
Promotes some perspectives and values while devaluing others
Some ideologies are easy to spot because the interpretations they promote are obviously one-
Ex: Republicans and Democrats. Each party functions as a culture with particular artifacts,
customs, and attitudes, and each party provides its members with an ideology that limits
interpretation and helps those individuals distinguish b/t right and wrong, true and false,
good and bad
However, some ideologies define our world in a more unconscious fashion. We enact and
support them without realizing it. So ingrained in our minds we fail to see them as ideologies
Ex: Biological sex in today'sAmerican society. We tend to understand the concept of sex
according to one of two groups: male and female. In reality though the human form can
often display physical characteristics of both sexes
Ex: public restrooms are assigned according to male and female sexes, as are clothing and
India acknowledges a third sex and name it Hijra, so they have a diff ideology there(2) Naturalizes (normalizes)
Ideology often makes social relations and arrangements between people seem normal, and it
makes established relationships of power appear to be the natural order of things
The social roles we occupy throughout or lifetime (child, student, employee) inscribe us into
relationships of unequal power as a result of ideological value hierarchies
All social relations are inherently relations of power because all social relations exist in a web
of ideologies which award power to certain roles
Ex: instructor has power only becauseAmerican cultural ideology often awards authority to
highly educated experts in a given field
Ex: The ideology of American capitalism ensures that employers have power over their
employees, and this relationship b/t owner and worker seems to be a natural part of
everyday life instead of a culturally constructed system
Ideology privileges some interests over others. In the process of normalizing relations of power,
it also informally confirms that the perspectives, qualities, or needs of socially powerful groups
are more important or valid than those of socially dominated groups
The capitalist ideological structure ofAmerican business culture is an example: although
employees tend to do much of the actual work in a capitalist business, it is the more socially
powerful management and owners that reap the most profits generated from the work
Most businesses in America favor managerial styles that emphasize masculine qualities li