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Literature Reveiw of Ideology and Ideological State Apparatuses by Luis Althusser and Simulacra and Stimulation by Jean Baudrillard - Book Report/Review Example

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Post-modern media advertising theory and scholarship has tended towards a focus on the use of surrealistic images in ads, exploring all of cause, effect and underlying purpose. Seminal works in this area are Judith Williamson's (1978) Decoding Advertising and Jean Baudrillard's (1994) Simulacra and Stimulation…
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Literature Reveiw of Ideology and Ideological State Apparatuses by Luis Althusser and Simulacra and Stimulation by Jean Baudrillard

Download file to see previous pages... . Indeed, through the interplay of cognition and emotion, the ad challenges receivers to uncover its message and investigate the linkage between the diverse images projected. To do so, the receiver becomes personally engaged in the ad and as he/she puzzles out its underlying meaning(s), more often than not, subjectively meaningful meaning is imposed upon the ad in question.2 The theoretical implication here is that the use of surrealism in advertising is effective, in the sense that it incites the purchase instinct, primarily because it ultimately sells us ourselves.
Through the application of the theoretical framework of semiology, Williamson proceeds to explicate the ideological structure of advertisements, further clarifying the way in which such ads sells us ourselves. As Williamson argues, ads present us with images, the majority of which act upon our subconscious as manifest latent influences. Ads present receivers with images which they proceed to interpreted on a subconscious, subjective manner, imposing meaning from within their own selves upon the ad.3 For example, an advertisement featuring an automobile may denote prestige for some but for others it may address their subconscious need for escape from the structures of their daily lives. The ad, the featured image within it, comes to represent a solution to their ever-increasing and oppressive burden of responsibilities; the car becomes escape,' and freedom.' Therefore, as Williamson suggests, ads function to create images which take us on a journey within our own selves, at the conclusion of which we arrive at a set of meanings which we subsequently impose upon the ad and the image(s) represented within.4 This process, as Williamson contends, is a concealed ideological one.5
To a large degree, Jean Baudrillard (1994) agrees with Williamson's theory regarding the effect of images on receivers. However, whereas Williamson's work simply tried to explain the effect which media ad images had on receivers and theorise the process through which receivers imposed subjective and personal meanings upon ads, Baudrillard explains how this entire process leads to the loss of reality. Furthermore, while Williamson simply tried to explain a phenomenon, Baudrillard uses this phenomenon to critique and attack post-modern culture. In his Stimulation Theory, he examines the concept media images in order to demonstrate the extent to which post-modernism has drained meaning from our lives and replaced reality with hyper-reality and, ultimately, with simulacrum.
Attacking the media as irresponsible "stimulators"6 Baudrillard's Simulation Theory outlines the process by which the media perverts and, ultimately, obliterates reality.7 Basic reality, the "profound" reality, according to Baudrillard, refers to the virtues upon which human culture is fundamentally founded upon.8 These virtues, which include family, communal life and societal responsibility and fulfilment, must be protected from corruption at all costs. Indeed, Baudrillard argues that humans are ...Download file to see next pagesRead More
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