Ideology And Ideological State Apparatuses Essay

2334 Words Sep 11th, 2016 10 Pages
Essay I: Ideology, a term that we all know exists, but very few truly understand the essence that lies behind such a word. Many questions arise when one thinks of ideology such as, but not limited to, “What is ideology?” and “Where do individuals come to acquire their ideology, as in is it born into the genetics that make up who they are, or is it created through the experiences of their life?”. Louis Althusser was a 20th century French philosopher that devoted much of his life to the study of what ideology truly is. Through his studies, he was able to develop a series of theses that, once completed, were released in his essay, Ideology and Ideological State Apparatuses. The first thesis of Althusser’s work aims to define ideology. In this thesis, Althusser claims that, “ideology is a ‘representation’ of the imaginary relationship of individuals to their real conditions of existence”. (Norton Anthology, pg. 1498) By this, he means that ideology is constructed by its subjects (us) as an imaginary representation of their reality. This conjecture naturally provokes the question of, “Why must man do this?” Althusser goes on to answer this by saying, “it is (man’s) relation to (real world conditions) of existence which is represented to them there.” (Norton Anthology, pg. 1499) In simpler terms, man needs explanation for how they relate to reality. Instead of man facing the reality that they, themselves are an insignificant creature of the world, they have developed the…

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