Louis Althusser Social Structures Essay

1008 Words 5 Pages
Social structures exist within all societies and have an impact on the people that reside within them. Social structures help us define who we are in a society and how we function within that society. Elements such as race, class and gender help us determine what our role is within the social structure. Our behavior, decisions, and thoughts are all influenced by the social norms that we all follow. Within this binding, it is crucial for us to understand and be aware of our identity within the society that we live in. But who has the power to create these identities for us? What ideas or concepts are put into play in order for us to follow the social structure? In his writing, philosopher Louis Althusser addresses the perceptions of role play and the position of an individual within the society, and how our thoughts and actions are …show more content…
The former requires force, and the latter uses ideas. Althusser uses the term “apparatuses of power’ to define the two kinds of power that social structure uses on its people. The first is called Repressive State Apparatus, or RSA, and this method of power uses force to put us in order. Mechanisms such as punishment or showing dominance of power are some ways to get people to abide by the rules. RSA uses social structure organizations such as the army, police, prisons, and any other form of violence in this section. The second apparatus of power titled Ideological State Apparatuses, or ISA, and this method is rarely used because it does not use force or violence to power over the people. Instead, it uses persuasion and patience to win the consent of the people. Ideologies such as family, school, art, entertainment, literature, emotions, etc., are all examples of things that are used to achieve our consent to accepting the role they have ready for us to place in the

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