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Uncommon Ground: Archaeology and Early African America, 1650-1800 What Ferguson means by Ideological power Ideological power refers a kind of power that is not based on force, but on a person’s conscious and unconscious ideas…
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Download file to see previous pages In this case, the African Americans used their different ideologies, as power. They therefore, promoted their ideologies, which included their beliefs and values that helped them make sense of the world, in the midst of domineering ideologies of the European. They mainly were able to embrace their ideologies, when they resisted most of the ideologies of the colonial masters, which were imposed on them. The African-American slaves utilized their material culture as a source of their power, and independence, and used this to shape their lives according to their preferences. To counteract the ideological power of the African-American slaves, the planters too used ideology as a way of covering up their exploitations of the slaves and blinding the African-Americans on the evils of slavery. They therefore, did this through different attempts to gain control over the material culture of the slaves. Instead of the slaves using their material culture, the planters offered them “nicer” clothing, housing, and food. However, most of the slaves did not accept the material culture of their planters, but preferred their own. They therefore, used their own material culture as a source of their “dominance” and power (Ferguson 118-9). Therefore, by “ideological power”, Ferguson referred to the culture of the African-Americans, since they based on this to resist the exploitations and injustices of slavery. African-Americans were under slavery for many years, as the whites had more dominion over them. The whites were more developed, with an advanced culture and education, compared to Africans. Therefore, it was least expected that the African-Americans would get powerful to the extent of breaking free from slavery. The African-Americans had no powerful weapons to engage in a war with the whites, in pursuit of their liberation. African-Americans only had their culture at their disposal. Therefore, these used their distinct culture as a shield from most of the exploitations from their ‘masters.’ The African-American culture was stronger than the American culture, since this combined both the indigenous African culture and some aspects of the American culture, which was acquired through the interaction of the blacks with the whites (Ferguson 58-9). Some archaeological examples of African-American ideological power in colonial America examined in Uncommon Ground. The ideological power of the African-American slaves mainly lay in their material culture. This form of ideological power helped African-Americans to resist the oppression of the white masters. This also served as a basis for resistance for the inequalities and exploitations by the white masters. This ideological power of the African-Americans mainly linked their social meanings with power. Therefore, the archaeological research by Ferguson is essential in tracing the distribution of material culture and establishing the different ways through which the adoption of these by the African-Americans played the role of resistance to the white oppression and exploitation. By refusing to embrace the material culture of the whites, the African-Americans wanted to maintain their cultural and social identity, thus avoiding assimilation by the American culture. There is different archaeological evidence provided by Ferguson that reveals the African-American ideological power during slavery. However, all these lay in the cultural aspects of the African-Am ...Download file to see next pagesRead More
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