Ideological Analysis

An ideology is one of the numerous forms of comprehensive patterns of beliefs on logical and moral aspects as regards to humans, the society and the universe. It is however, uniquely different from such terms as creeds, outlooks, programs and systems of thought which are also comprehensive pattern types nevertheless. An ideology should ideally have a high degree of explicitness of formulation over a wide array of things that they deal with be it humans or objects. They are in effect highly integrated around one or several preexisting values including equality, ethnic purity or even salvation.  They are therefore more insistent on their unconnectedness with other non-ideological comprehensive patterns present in the society. The Marxism theory of ideology is a widely revered concept and attracts protagonists and critics in equal measure.

In defining the Ideological State Apparatus (ISA), Althusser revises the view of Marx on ideology. He thus describes it as a thought whose status is similar to the theoretical status of a dream prominent with writers before Feud. Althusser identifies ISA as a formula through which organizations propagate ideology. The definition of ISA is in contrast to Repressive State Apparatus (RSA) which allows for compliance to be forced and can include the security personnel such as the army or police. In this regard, ideologies treat people as subject positions through Ideological State Apparatus. Ideologies in the ISA bracket include those p[propagated in religion, trade unions, media, family and even in law. The philosopher then puts educational apparatus as the highest form of Ideological State Apparatus and argues that it has surpassed the church which was until then, the dominant Ideological State Apparatus. The Repressive State Apparatus is on the other hand an organized whole that centralizes its different parts beneath a commanding unity.

The concept of Classical Marxism refers to the philosophical, sociological and economical theories that were expounded by Karl Marx and Friedrich Engels and are in contrast with later developments in Marxism. The philosopher is most famous for analyzing the history in terms of class struggles which is summed up in the Communist manifesto’s opening lines. In fact, his ideas were so widely accepted that only a few parts of the world were not impacted by his ideas in the twentieth century. Marx and Engels upon their first meeting in 1844 discovered that they harbored similar vies and decided to work together in regard to philosophy and capitalism. They actually moved to Belgium together because the country allowed for better freedom of expression. In all their writings, they advocated for Communism and strived to make it understandable to wide audiences of people. Their ideas did not come across without resistance and especially from the government. More than once, they were expelled from the country they were residing in and ended up moving to another country.

False consciousness is another term used by Marxists in reference to the manner in which capitalist society view on ideological, material and institutional aspects is misleading to the various classes. The Marxists argue that these processes are not reflective of the true relations between the reality of affairs and the classes in respect to the exploitation imparted on the lower classes. Both Marx and Engels, advocates of the Classical Marxism theory were critical of the term ideology and actually thought it not to exist in reality. However, the phrase ‘false consciousness’ was mainly used by Engels and there is no record of its use by Marx in writing. They argued that even though ideology is a process accomplished by thinkers, it is only with a false consciousness. The argument is that the real drivers of the thinking are not known to self therefore the thinker imagines apparent and false motives. Engels in particular bashes the ambiguity in the definition of the word ideology in saying that it refers to a lack of objectivity.

Subjectivity is a concept in philosophy that relates to ones consciousness, reality, personhood and truth. The term is an explanation for things that influence people’s judgments on issues to do with truth and reality. It is therefore the collection of experiences, beliefs and perceptions that are specific to a person. Subjectivity is inherently different from objectivity which has no influence from self. The concept of subjectivity is influenced by a person’s interactions with the society and is as much a process of socialization as it is of individuation. Although the society is one unit that is difficult to disintegrate, the subjectivity inherent in one particular person is palatable and visible as distinct from others. Subjectivity is therefore not a process in isolation but is shaped by factors such as the community, political institutions as well as the economy. Subjectivity is in effect undergoing change driven by a diverse array of emotions, perceptions and sensations over time.

The concept of uneven development can be traced back to the teachings of Marx on capitalist development. Marx’s argument against the capitalist mode of production is that it will lead to different developments among the different classes in the society. Marx infers that the capitalist development undermines other old forms of social relations. According to his theory, the lower classes in society suffer both from the capitalist development and the incompleteness of the same development. The ideology of uneven development argues that capitalist development will always lead to a form of uneven development because the society does not benefit equally. The lower classes in society will have limited or even no access to social development and therefore continue in suffrage. The series of inherited evils oppress the lower social classes and are as a result of the passive survival of the prominent modes of capitalist production.

Hegemony, in Marxist philosophy, is the domination of the ruling class over the other classes in a society of diverse culture. The effect of this dominance is the manipulation of the existing societal culture including their perceptions, values and beliefs such that the ruling class’ worldviews becomes the society’s views. In effect, the dominant class imposes itself to justifying the political, economical and social status quo as what is best for everyone and is resistant to revolutionary changes. The ruling class is oblivious and blind to the fact the status quo is an artificial setting that benefits only the strong in the society. Hegemony is thus the geopolitical method of indirect dominance in which the dominant class controls and rules over the subordinate state through the means of power and the threat of intervention.

Scandal is a political drama TV show written by the famous Shonda Rhimes. In the show, Olivia Pope dedicates her life to the protection and defense of the public image of the ruling class (White, pp 287). The character is keen on keeping the secrets of the nation’s elite under wraps and away from the public eye. Pope is very efficient in getting the job done for their clients and is successful in making the ruling class look as if they were very much concerned about the welfare of the people. However, it becomes apparent that the people are simply gladiators dressed in suit are only concerned about their own interests. In fact, they cannot fix people of their own class but are quick to fix those of a lower class.

The concept of uneven development isd prevalent in the tv show as the ruling class benefit more from the capitalist development. President Fitzgerald’s policy on development is inclined to benefit the rich while making the poor beg for help. The cronies that are his advisors including his Vice President are much obliged to drive the process of development towards their own benefit. The result is the formation of different classes of people in the society that have to do with little income and depend on social welfare programs. The ruling class uses this opportunity to advance their political agenda by pretending to care for the interests of the larger populace.

The TV show is dominated by instances of both cultural hegemony and political subjectivity. The ruling class is the hegemony group and rules over the subordinates with impunity by imposing rules that they think will be of benefit for all. The political class’ unwillingness to bring change to the people is driven by the pretentious thinking that the status quo is ideal and beneficial to all and sundry. The political class is also influential on the subjectivity of the general public and influences their perceptions and beliefs. It is not surprising, therefore, that the same people under oppression act as the cheerleaders when artificial development is brought across their way.

The tv show, Scandal, is a classical example of how the philosophical ideologies are used to influence the people’s thinking and subject them to oppression. Throughout the entire script, the ruling class is seen to be influencing every key decision without due regard for the welfare of the larger public good. The ills of the ruling class are concealed through a well orchestrated plan to hide their wrongdoings and this leads to an outcome which portrays the ruling regime as successful. However, this is not the reality on the ground as is evidenced by the uneven development that faces the nation.


Works cited

White, Mimi. “Ideological Analysis and Television.” Cultural Studies: 282-320. Print


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