Louis Althusser Ideology Analysis

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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 …show more content…
Althusser claims that this apparatus holds, “the dominant position in mature capitalist social formation”. (Norton Anthology, pg. 1493) This is because the school has so much control over the lives of the children while, “the child is most ‘vulnerable’”. (Norton Anthology, pg. 1494) It is here that the child will learn a profound amount of information, all either, “wrapped in the ruling ideology,” or “the ruling ideology in its pure state”. (Norton Anthology, pg. 1494) An example of this can be seen in our modern capitalist social formation can be found Dick and Jane that are used to teach many children how to read. Hidden within the lines of this innocent seeming picture book is sexist and picket fence ideology. This becomes obvious to the readers who look beyond the pictures and single syllable words, as they notice how it is the father that leave the “suburban paradise” everyday to go off to work and the mother is expected to stay home and care for the …show more content…
It is here that the central thesis of his essay lies, being, “ideology interpellates individuals as subjects.” (Norton Anthology, pg. 1502) What he means by this is that ideology gives individuals the identity of subjects. He then goes on to state that, “there is no ideology except by the subject and for subjects.” (Norton Anthology, pg. 1502). Ideology is much more than just a thought, its who we are; it defines us. It is almost as if ideology is the puppet master and we are all the subjects of its manipulations, acting as its

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