Marx 's Theory Of Ideology Essays

Marx 's Theory Of Ideology Essays

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Marx utilized the term ideology to discuss certain aspects of society. To begin with, “Ideology refers to those ideas that naturally emerge out of everyday life in capitalism” (Ritzer, 64). This means that ideas that come naturally in life are seen as an ideology. An example of this was provided in Four Sociological Traditions. In it, Marx discusses how men can be distinguished from animals because we have consciousness and with consciousness, men can distinguish themselves from animals as soon as we begin to produce our own means of subsistence (Sel. Readings, 13-14). This consciousness is the basis behind Marx’s Theory of Ideology. Conscious real men set out and develop their own ideological reflexes and show this in real life instances (Sel. Readings, 15). Marx meant by this that men set out in the real world and develop their ideologies from within. This is shown to influence social thought, as conscious individuals express themselves through producing their actual material life. Marx continues by discussing how the fact is that definite individuals who are productively active in a definite way enter into definite social and political relations (Sel. Readings, 14). By being more productively involved, these definite people are continually evolving the social structure and the State. Thus, people are consciously involved. Thoughts and actions are no longer in people’s imaginations, but are real processes occurring throughout society. As stated in the text, “The production of ideas, of conceptions, of consciousness, is at first directly interwoven with the material activity and material intercourse of men, the language of real life” (Sel. Readings, 14). This means that the views and thoughts of individuals are dire...


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...racy and bourgeoisie, are contending for power, and end up sharing the power. The doctrine of the separation of powers proved to be the dominant ideas and was expressed as the eternal law (Sel. Readings, 15). According to Marx’s theory of ideology, the ruling class expressed this as an important thought, thus it became important in society. The ruling class had possession over the means of material production as well as the means of mental production. This resulted in their ideologies becoming mainstream throughout society. All in all, Marx believed that real individuals compose their ideologies through real life experiences. Antonio Gramsci, who believed that ideologies come down from heaven and influence how the individual is formed, contrasted this. Many individuals take both sides, but when it comes down to it, there are many different theories of ideology.

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