Defining Discourse and Ideology

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  • Topic: Sociology, Louis Althusser, Political philosophy
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  • Published : November 9, 2010
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Chapter 11: Defining discourse and ideology
Introduction
Discourse , ideology and hegemony – Michel Foucault, Louis Althusser, Antonio Gramsci These words are concerned with the way ideas and values are felt and expresses in a society and with issues of social power Power is unequally distributed in society – dominant and subordinate – and this imbalance is maintained and reproduced through ideas and beliefs Ideas and beliefs – language via media

Discourse – paradigms or ways of understanding that are communicated through texts and language use, and that organise knowledge and social power
- collective understanding
DISCOURSE
Discourse – paradigms or ways of understanding that are communicated through texts and language use, and that organise knowledge and social power
- collective understanding
Seems neutral, we need discourse to communicate
Discourse analysis – Foucaultian term: explores the ways in which power and knowledge are communicated through texts, language use, and systems of thought Foucault used to make sense of sexuality, madness and criminality. e.g. Criminality: defined differently through legal, religious, medical and moral discourse Discourses linked with disciplinary power i.e. concerned with the regulation, surveillance, and government of, first, the human species… and second, the individual and body Thus discourses are means of organising and transmitting social control Less neutral now…

Discourses change – used to be religious and moral, now legal and medical – breeds competition Foucaultian model allows for social change
Difference between discourse and ideology
Discourse: social change as possible
Ideology: fixed view of society
Discourse: modes of thought, speech, expression
Ideology: be above as well as material
Discourse of criminality in Dead Men Walking as case study
Ideology
Ideology: sets of values, ideas, beliefs, feelings, and representations by which people collectively make sense of the world they...
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