A2 MEDIA STUDIESG325 SECTION B: COLLECTIVE IDENTITYTHE REPRESENTATION OF TEENAGERS IN THE MEDIA
ALTHUSSER - IDEOLOGICAL STATE APPARATUS AND INTERPELLATION
Althusser was a French Marxist who, in the late 1960s and early 1970s, attempted to investigatethe way in which social institutions reinforce ideology and the Capitalist system.
He discussed the terms IDEOLOGICAL STATE APPARATUS & INTERPELLATION to help understandhow and why we accept representations of different groups of people in the Mass Media.The Communications Ideological State Apparatus
Through the Radio, TV, News and other networks of communication, the Communications ISA isseen to
communicate the dominant ideology
about Capitalism as an economic structure,
and ourroles in relation to the division of labour in order to enable Capitalism to work
. This division isoften seen through the representation of conflict in the Media (good & bad, old & young, rich &poor etc)
The function of the Communications ISA
The products of the COMMUNICATIONS ISA can be seen to fundamentally
toprovide us pleasure. But, Althusser argues that they have two primary functions:
Althusser argues that the Mass Media reinforces dominant ideology and repressesindividual thought through
the representation of the imaginary relationship of individuals to real conditionsof existence.
hat does this mean?
Representations in the Media will reinforce an imagined idea about the power position aperson has in relation to their actual material existence (their job, money earned,education, material possessions etc...)
Representations help audiences understand who they are, what they can do and how theyshould behave, depending on the imagined power they have. These representationsbecome part of our consciousness. We make choices about who we are within thisimagined existence. This makes what we do and our behaviour feel normal.
This is called
the Media becomes a mediator between systems of power(the dominant ideology and ISAs) and individuals (the audience).