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Critically Evaluate Two or Three Approaches to Ideology and Their Relevance to the Student of Media - Essay Example

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The triple features of mass appeal, mass audience and mass production have given birth to mass suspicion of the ideological impact of institutions such as…
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Critically Evaluate Two or Three Approaches to Ideology and Their Relevance to the Student of Media
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One of the reasons for this malaise over the impact of the media is because it is a more formidable source of cultural acquisition and socialisation than books and other cultural institutions, especially for young people, because, as Gross has pointed out, even at the university level, young people are largely influenced by audio-visual media, their primary cultural reference (cited in Hall 1992, p. 88). Yet theorists and critics have argued that the media isn’t ideologically-neutral, rather, contrary to appearances, it is a purveyor of dominant ideology.
According to Murfin & Ray (2003) ideology is “a set of beliefs underlying the customs, habits, and practices common to a given social group. To members of that group, the beliefs seem obviously true, natural, and even universally applicable” (p. 208), regardless of whether they are held or acquired consciously or unconsciously. The term first came into critical use in Marxist thought, when Karl Marx, along with Frederich Engels, offered his critique of capitalist societies in The German Ideology (1844) and other writings. For Marx, society is structured and divided along lines of economics and class along two major axes: those who control the means of production (the ruling class or elite) and those who do not (the masses or proletariat). The wealthy elite, in order to maintain their position of privilege and the economic machinery from which their position and power emanated, had to put structures in place that would reinforce their authority and undermine that of the working class (Rivkin & Ryan 1998, p. 253). Marx calls these structures or institutions the ‘superstructure’: law, politics, culture, religion, education, and they emerge from and in accordance with the economic base, with the aim of exploiting the working class (Murfin & Ray 2003, p. 244).
Marx criticises capitalists societies which he sees as “riven from within by … ‘class struggle’” (Rivkin & Ryan 1998, p. ...Download file to see next pagesRead More
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