Ideology Teaches a Life of Discipline Essay

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Ideology has always remained an integral part of the domain of Cultural Studies, especially with regards to the teaching of the discipline. Cultural Studies, to a large extent focus on the emerging identities that take part within one particular culture, and often, these identities are represented by the ideologies. Although, the use of ideology as a domain of study within this field has tended to decrease in the recent years, it should be noted that it is one of the most important ‘conceptual’ category within this academic discipline. There is no doubt; however, on the idea that the role of ideology still remains a contested topic. Within cultural studies, ideology represents as the place for struggle, but often the debate rages over the idea that economic takes place within the cultural (Turner, pp. 167, 2002).
Within Cultural Studies, Althusser has been a dominant contributor towards the formation of ideas regarding ideology. Ideology tends to be identified as a system of practices along with representations which actually leads people to imagine the conditions of their life. The imaginary relationship that exists with the real conditions of people is often identified as ideology. However, the problem is that the imaginary is often shaped by the superstructure which leads us to believe that our lives are actually better than the others and what they actually ‘are’. According to Althusser, ideology is important with respect to every level of social formation in the society, which means that it is able to influence the beliefs, the practices and the imaginations of the two classes within the society (the ruling class and the sub-ordinate class), an idea borrowed from Marxist ideology (Lewis, pp. 72, 2008).
The concept of ideology...

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...s an important role to play in the constitution of persons. Consequently, with respect to cultural studies, identity is looked at from various perspectives, according to different thinkers and the different times and spaces that the person belongs to (Barker, pp. 230-232, 2003). Therefore, a fixed concept of identity is not pervasive in Cultural Studies, but identity is a contested project in Cultural Studies.
Cultural Studies needs to consider the different cultural and ideological elements of identity which stand in opposition to the state-sanctioned political identity. Therefore, because of the inter-disciplinary approach, cultural studies helps us to understand the different processes that are involved in the construction of identity, the relationship that exists between different cultures along with the lived reality of the individuals (Belgum, pp. 176, 1997).

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