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  • Ideology

    Christian Fuchs

    Chapter from the book: Fuchs, C. 2020. Communication and Capitalism: A Critical Theory.


    Ideology is a strategy of reproducing domination and exploitation that operates in the realms of communication, culture, psychology, emotions, and beliefs. This chapter focuses on the concept of ideology from a critical theory perspective. It asks: what is ideology? How does ideology operate and work? It first discusses the reification of consciousness and then the question of how ideology should be defined. It outlines the relationship of communication and ideology and aspects of ideology critique. The author concludes that ideology and fetishism stand in a dialectical relationship: ideology is built into capitalism’s commodity structures veiling the class relations which are project of defending the ruling class’ and dominant groups’ interests with ideology operating in a fetishist manner. It tries to naturalise domination, exploitation, and the ruling class by methods such as scapegoating, distortion, dissimulation, misrepresentation, and manipulation. Ideology aims at the reification of dominated groups’ consciousness. If ideology succeeds, then it creates false consciousness. Fetishism encompasses the communicative character of commodities, through which capitalism is naturalised. The commodity character of communication advances the spread of ideologies via the culture industry. Responses to ideology are not pre-determined. Dominant classes and groups control more resources than subordinated classes and groups, which gives them advantages in ideological struggles over meaning. The antagonism between emancipatory knowledge and ideology exists in capitalism. Ideologues are ideological workers who produce, disseminate, and reproduce ideologies. Critics are people who question ideology. Structural disadvantages exist for alternative movements, alternative structures, and emancipatory knowledge.

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    Fuchs, C. 2020. Ideology. In: Fuchs, C, Communication and Capitalism. London: University of Westminster Press. DOI: https://doi.org/10.16997/book45.i

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    Published on May 19, 2020