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Media Studies Number 038

Ideology for A2 Students

Ideology is one of the main media concepts. Media students are Your beliefs may differ from your friends and familys but some
expected to analyse and evaluate media texts and consider the ideologies are largely agreed across the culture. Personal ideologies
ideologies and values which are communicated through them in all are the outcome of an individuals experiences and the influences in
their work. At A2, it is expected that you will develop your critical their lives. Cultural ideologies are constructed via a number of
analysis skills in order to evaluate the medias ideological institutional sources including the law, our education system and
perspectives rather than just identify the values present within texts. religion. One of the institutions often cited as having a potentially
large impact on cultural and personal values in the mass media.
Media texts communicate a range of ideologies and we are all
exposed to them from a range of sources.

The dominant ideologies of a culture are those that are largely

accepted by the majority. Some of these ideologies may seem like
common sense, but they are still ideologies: for example:
Certain crimes should be punishable by imprisonment
Freedom of speech is an important right A full working week lasts for five days
The aims of this Factsheet are: Everyone over the age of 18 should have the opportunity to
To consider the nature of ideology vote
To discuss the medias role in communicating ideologies The dominant ideologies in our culture may not be shared by all
To identify ideologies in contemporary news stories social groups in the UK; they are those shared by the majority or by
To show how the analysis of ideologies can be an outcome powerful groups within the culture. Our values are not shared by
of the consideration of other media concepts people in all cultures worldwide.

Definition: Ideology
What is Ideology? 1. a belief system or world-view; a coherent structure of thinking
Within modern society we have a complex network of beliefs and 2. a set of values shared by a social/cultural group
values which are shared by large proportions of the population.
These beliefs and values can be seen to be part of the ideological
Structured Ideologies
framework of our culture. Within this though, groups of the
Some groups have distinct and specific world-views which are
population may share specific beliefs and values which shape their
shaped by the ideologies of the group. Religious groups, for
attitudes and the way that they perceive the world which may not
example, have clearly defined values and these values define the
always be in line with the wider values of society. Individually held
groups way of thinking. However, even within a religion such as
ideologies shape the way people behave and relate to one another.
Christianity, there are different interpretations which lead to different
Some ideologies are overt, that is they can be clearly seen and
world views. This can be evidenced when looking at the difference
identified whilst others are more covert and are less obviously
between Catholics and Evangelical Christians, between Anglicans
observable as they are at the heart of our own culture.
and Baptists etc. They are all Christians but their belief systems are
subtly different leading to differing perspectives on the world. Politics
Activity is traditionally ideologically based. Left wing and right wing politics
Consider your own ideological position on these issues. has different world views. The right wing focuses on individuals
Do you believe war is sometimes a necessary evil? and the importance of free trade whilst left wing politics sees the
Do you believe war is a failure of democracy? world as being based around communities and a more social
economic structure.
Do you believe that governments should allow people to
manage their own lives? Activity
Do you believe that governments should be actively involved Look up the following isms on Wikipedia to see the
in helping people manage their lives? differences in world view held by those who subscribe to these
ways of thinking. These ideas all consider how society should
Do you believe people should collaborate together to be organised in terms of economics but they come to very
support the disadvantaged in society? different conclusions.
Do you believe people should be responsible only for Capitalism
themselves and their immediate family? Socialism