Bricks in the Wall – Althusser on Capitalist Ideology in Schools

Bricks in the Wall - Althusser on Capitalist Ideology in Schools
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you have a choice to make idiotic is a complicated work with both specific and more pedestrian communities ideologies that should be imposed on our sense often people use ideology to describe a political position such as the neocon or a socialist and the beliefs that identify these groups in discourse theory however ideologies has a more specific use and it is helpful to separate these ideologies an important concept for social critique the questioned ideology seeks to answer is why people seemingly opted not to act in their best interests if we're free why do we act like we aren't the reason is school school is lauded as this necessary productive time of personal growth and development you are not only learning to read write and add in school you are also learning to obey and to internalize ideology ideology is not simply speaking good or bad but its effects are unequally realized let's get back to why ideology is useful as a concept the underlying reason 20th century critics have been interested in this question is that they want to understand why when presented with the option people were drawn to fascism when their conditions started sucking what makes people act against their interests there is one particularly easy answer to this fear fear of violence or the threat of violence this is the premise by which Hobbes and Locke established a social contract if you want people to fall in line you need police courts and prisons sponsored by the state but that doesn't cover all cases people in general seem to be willing to accept or even support political corruption and equality and systems that just don't make their life so the question is I fear is not compelling people to support the ad systems then what is the concept of ideology is meant to answer just that question ideology was first of all a Marxist idea although you don't have to be a Marxist to see that it's useful Marx himself discussed ideology in feudal economies in these economies ideology reflects the interest of the ruling class and justifies the status quo that keeps them in power obviously for any status quo revolution and rebellion is a bad thing those of the lower classes internalize the ruling ideology because they are not self conscious so in a feudal system you as a serf should not rebel against your Lord because the Bible says the meek shall inherit the earth this means stay in your station and you'll be rewarded in heaven so it's bad to disrupt the divine order here on earth if you are born into a position that's where God wants you to stay note that this is not a back room lie that some priests and kings thought up to control it buddy the kings in the priests believed it as much as anyone almost everyone believes in divine right at least in a feudal society including those who benefit from it and those who don't Christianity didn't cause this belief but it does help justify keeping things as they are ideology always gives reasons why the status quo need not be changed the idea here is that ideology is internalized by everyone it's not a secret conspiracy made up by those who benefit from it it emerges from the conditions of labour and ownership and then is justified after the fact using religion racism popular mythology or whatever latent beliefs are just lying around in the 20th century the concept of ideology changes and takes on a slightly different meaning ideology still means accepting beliefs that you believe without consciously knowing you believe them but here they are reinforced through expected and approved behaviors to make you a good subject in a future cog in a capitalist economy so this would be then capitalist ideology Louis altas are defined two types of apparatus that controlled behavior the first is called the repressive apparatus which controls you through the threat of violence including police courts and prisons but fear is not the primary motivator in most of our lives as it turns out being normal being accepted and belonging to a group are just as strong motivators here is where ideological apparatus –is do most of the work so that the police and courts only need to step in when these fail to put people in their place ideological State apparatuses prevent change to the status quo and include schools politics and the mass media here are some quick examples politics maintain the status quo by giving you a choice so you feel like you have some responsibility towards the society you live in but in today's democracies by and large you have a choice between barely distinguishable parties this choice is a choice between status quo and status quo not a choice that's going to change much of anything dad Stan you came back does that mean you learn the importance of boating I learned that I better get used to having to pick between a douche and a turd sandwich because it's usually the choice I'll have advertising in the mass media offers a similarly illusory choice between basically indistinguishable commodities but having that illusion of choice generally settles down people's revolutionary impulses sure you can define yourself as a social a greaser by wearing different clothes and maybe get some community out of it but again nothing much will change entertainment and sports in particular provide you with an artificial Allegiance that Marxist would say divorce you from your natural class allegiances the sensible thing to do would be for workers to fight as a united group for better pay better benefits and less inequality but if there's a ball game on a few times a week you're more likely to identify as a Boston fan that as a member of the working class the difference is that being a Boston fan has no chance of changing the economic conditions of your life you can easily think of more examples I'm sure but in each case the point of the ideological apparatus is that you do not think about inequality and most importantly that you don't do anything to change it except by approved channels like choosing between a douche bag or a turd sandwich every couple of years let's make our voices heard we've been given the right to choose between a douche and a turd now to schools schools are Bar None the most powerful ideological state apparatus because they are mandatory and no other ideological state apparatus has the obligatory audience of the totality of children in the capitalist social formation eight hours a day for five or six days schools now serve the ideological purpose that the medieval Catholic Church did in the feudal system school on its face teaches you to read write and add all good things right but this mission fails it's more pertinent lesson one that transcends all subjects discipline in school you are taught to follow a strictly regimented schedule seven or eight hours of lessons broken up by an hour of leisure always the same every day you are taught to submit to authority to obey not to speak out of turn to share your pencils to clean up after yourself and to raise your hand if you wish to speak every interaction is governed by the authority of the teacher and what happens if you don't follow any one of these instructions well that is when the threat of violence steps in you'll be forcibly removed from class if you disrupt it your parents will be called if you are late you'll get detention if your assignments are late violence in this context does not mean getting beaten usually but your corporeal freedom is restricted by force all of this behavioral reinforcement is priming you to be a non-confrontational submissive obedient producer in a capitalist system you are taught to respect authority to not interfere with your peers to complete your tasks on time and most importantly not to labelled if you don't follow the rules of school you'll get detention if you don't learn these lessons in school you'll be incarcerated this is the layout of a grade school classroom this is the layout of a church of a political ceremony a courtroom of a lecture of a product release the ideology is submitting yourself alongside your peers to the authority is ideological instantiated in the layout itself the purpose of school is as much the social and economic order as it is to teach reading and writing you are primed to accept Authority and violence is always the lurking fear they teach critical thinking sure but critical thinking never extends to the apparatus itself alters it is clear that the teachers are not to blame they are merely placeholders in the structure of the ideology of discipline if they do not teach discipline properly and their classrooms are not organized quiet and submissive they themselves will be disciplined by their superiors parents are not to blame either parents do not want their kids to end up in jail so they play their role in this disciplinary ideology as well you have two choices you can accept Authority and discipline or if you do not accept it that's when the repressive apparatus begins to take away your corporeal freedoms detention or prison of course this is not a real choice but this lesson is preparing you for the rest of your life in which you'll continue to have no real choice you have a choice to make and I encourage you all to go shopping more the critique of ideology should be the opposite flag you take off the glasses the school today is just as natural indispensable useful and even beneficial for our contemporaries as the church was for our ancestors of the new centuries don't you have a choice to make to think off the glacier perhaps the reason then that people accept bad leadership is not only because they are good Liars but because the notion that authority is good justified and must be heated has been ingrained in us before we ever had a say in the matter answering the call of ideology responding to it is what dooms you from the outset altas er calls this interpolation we are individuals within the rules of punctuality politeness and obedience to Authority breaking these rules doesn't mean you are outside of the ideology because being punished is also a position within it ideologies total and its purpose is to keep things how they are every subject needs to internalize the ideology to keep it working well almost everyone as the system is meant to support the production and exchange of capital capital also provides some people with exceptions we are taught to be productive and work hard unless you have inherited a lot of wealth we are taught to share and contribute to group work unless you can get around it we are taught to bring our cans back to the store to protect the environment unless you can afford the fine we are taught not to hurt each other unless you can afford the best lawyers we are taught to follow the rules unless you can pay to change them we are taught that you'll be punished for taking things from other people unless you know the judge we are taught to respect others unless you're a star then they let you do it India is meant to keep the status quo in place that means keeping most people in place if the rich and powerful break the law once in a while so what but it isn't real it's imaginary and it only continues to work because everyone believes it does even one of them on plastic pills thank you for watching check out my other stuff and I'll see you you take off the glasses

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