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Cultural Theory
Undergraduate 3

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Dialectical Materialism (Marx)
The progressive self-creation, satisfaction and recreation of human needs and contexts
-we are not born knowing what to do or think it is molded wth out interaction with the world and material objects
àWe exist in relation to the material world around us, not God, we buy our own food, create our own shelter
àBy doing this, we transform this world which then in turn changes us again. (we mould to our external world)
-Marx believed that there are no higher ideals ex/ God, we create our own
"Mans social being determines their consciousness"
The Base and the Superstructure
-The base determines the superstructure
-both work and effect eachother
-BASE: Relations of production (borgeousie exploit the proliteriate) Means of production: all the things you need to produce/machinery etc.

Superstructure: education/family/mass media (everything not to do with production)

Marx and Engels: people passively accept their working, and consuming time, RULING class determines the base and then thererfore determines the superstructure
Mode of Production
-Structured values, ideas, priorities come to dominate/determine how we think and perceive the world
-The class who ‘owns’ the modes of production depends upon the exploitation of others—through labour etc—in
order to continue to make a profit
-Whoever owns the modes, controls our ways & values
-With this orthodox view, ideology is always an expression of the ruling class, powerful class controls both the
modes of material production (Marx’s time, factories) and the means of intellectual production (press publishing
Louis Althusser
-view of the world that is not deterministic (base determines superstructure) or reductive (all of our ideas can be boiled down to how we function economically
-instead, a society "structured in dominance"
A Society Structured in Dominance (Althusser)
-There is not one determining level, but rather many levels that act on each other and determine each other
(economic, political, cultural , theoretical)
-Society is “structured in dominance”
àLanguage is the mediums/through which ideology moves: language creates material products
àThrough interpellation: language creates these objects
ex/Uncle Sam propaganda poster: becomes common sense to joint he war effort at that time
Althussers First Thesis
Ideology is a Representation to the Imaginary Relationship of Individuals to their conditions of existance
-we are made to think that everything we do in our society is natural and the way things are supposed to be
-this is IMAGINARY
-our sense of freedom is not natural (free to go buy things but really free?) and people's sense of freedom in other cultures would be different
Althussers Second Thesis
-material alienation of real conditions predisposes people to form representations which distance (alienate) them from these real conditions.
-people think that they have it good by working in factory and refuse to accept the fact that its actually a monotonous meaningless pit
-what we know of the world are always just representations, we cannot know the true world our understand it completely through ideologies
Institutional State Apparatus (Althusser)

-Cultural institutions that work to systematic ideology (ex/ family, religions, media, legal, etc àLegitimate the status quo -Ideology describes the imaginary relationship individuals have to real conditions of their existence
-Ideology is not a forced imposition of a false consciousness à There is no outside, just completing world views

-Appears as categories, structures, or ways of understanding that we internalize and then act through -Ideology appears as “common sense”

-A way of ruling through coercion and consent (a balance between)
àHow you get power and how you maintain it
-Gramsci: people in power do just enough to keep the masses in consent (in control)by incorporating and listening to SOME of their ideas
-crises is rare, small changes are common

A moving equilibrium
-The power of ideas, power in general
ex/ America holds hegemony
-A ruling group must not only have economic power, but also exercise it
-Revolution doesn’t only happen through force, but through winning peoples hearts and minds—by articulating
their interests to our own

-Wrestled with orthodox Marxist claims: if we are all determined by our class (dopes of the system) then how does
this change ever occur?
àCultural beliefs, ideas, practices, institutions are central to any process of political means of economic change
Hegemony in the Workplace
-Hegemony in the workplace: In Ford factories: Ford introduced the factory line, but they also wanted people to be
more productive and work quicker
-Ford paid them higher wages in order to get them to do what they want (uses consent to rule) but also says, “ I will fire you” (that is using cohersion)
War of Maneuver
short, “coodahtay” quick, brutal overthrow of power, you and your buddy
War of Position
extended battle for power, primarily waged on the terrain of culture and ideology, it is a long
battle àTries to convince people of other views, get current political government out of power, requires a lot of hegemony, influencing a large mass

-ideology "hails" us to a certain kind of subject --“Ideology asks us to recognize and position ourselves within reference” ex/ Going to class= good student Sets expectations and brands itself

-Ads even hail us!

-girl and boys washrooms, hail us into gender
-police officer hails us to be a good citizen

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