What is ideology?
Ideology is a set of beliefs, perspectives, or ideas for a group of people towards a particular issue which affect their life styles or decision making and so on, in other words, ideology is a set of beliefs, perspectives, or ideas that direct one’s actions.
At first, the term ‘ideology’ is coined by a French philosopher, Count Destutt de Tracy in 1700s in order to describe the positive meaning of new science of ideas and then Napoleon also used the word ‘ideology’ but he acquired it as a negative meaning. During that the time of Napoleon’s era, this term was used to refer falsehood or unrealistic things but he wanted the followers to believe those things are real. Since the 19th century which called as the age of ideology because there were so much of the thought of the time could be distinguished from that prevailing in the previous centuries by features that would now be called ideological (Cranston, 2005). And from the work of Karl Marx, who argued that social structure or class-based power can be divided into two classes: Bourgeoisie and Proletariat, the term ideology is used by the bourgeoisie as a tool to control the proletariat (the powerful take control the powerless in Neo Marxism). In addition, a Marxist philosopher, Louis Pierre Althusser (1969) identified the three levels from his ‘theoretical practice’ and science work: economic level, the political level and the ideological level which clarifies that the ideological level generates the superstructure and it means that the dominant(s) taking control of the working class as well.
According to the aforementioned statements, ideology in general is used by the dominant as a tool to control the lower class. This tool is a key to govern a society because the society should have the same belief in order to show their harmony. Ideology guides people how to live their lives or what are appropriate behaviors via symbols, words or media. There are many kinds of ideology in the field of communication, so this term is used in many ways nowadays such as politics, social science, and business including media. Due to the diversity of the term ‘ideology’; therefore, one can has many ideologies depends on what issue or situation that one concerns about. However, a community still has a main ideology to share their common belief with each other such as religions.
The picture of Mary Magdalene and Jesus Christ are used as sanctity of Christianity in a Christian society in order to persuade all Christians by the same belief. This ideology exists to guide the Christian how to live and love the other.
Islamic or Muslim
The Qur’an is a book which consists of guidance and direction in Arabic and Maulid Nabi Muhammad is the prophet of Muslim. All Islamite share this belief and follow all the directions from the Qur’an such as a tradition of praying performance for five times a day.
All Buddhist respect the Buddha image, which represents the Lord Buddha and follow his disciples such as the five percepts in order to live together peacefully
However, religions usually represent good things or guide people to live their lives appropriately but some ideologies guide or persuade people to follow according to the dominant’s favorite. For instance, politicians persuade a community to believe that it is a good thing to have embankment near their lands so the politicians could make some profits from the embankment construction.
The ideology usually classifies people into two classes. Gender ideology, for example, refers to attitudes regarding the appropriate roles, rights, and responsibilities of women and men in society (Kroska, 2006). Gender ideology consists of images, concepts and assumptions (Patai & Koertge, 1994). The gender ideology distinguishes people by physical or appearance into two groups: feminine and masculine. Therefore, gender ideology absolutely affects people appropriate behaviors in the society regarding gender.
This ideology comes from a fact that men are stronger than women and the belief that husband has more right and responsibility than wife. This belief exists until now and it affects women lives about crimes and also an organizational management due to gender discrimination. According to Naff (1994), therefore, argues that during the 1980s, the term "glass ceiling" was coined to describe the subtle barriers that block the advancement of women (and minorities) in organizational management field. The research studied the U.S. Merit Systems Protection Board (MSPB), from the questions that is the poor representation of women in senior level jobs a result of fewer qualified women, less ambition on the part of women, or have women indeed faced discriminatory treatment?, for example, and this study indicated that a glass ceiling does exist in the federal government.
Another example from an article “Gender discrimination” of enots encyclopedia that is:
…sexual harassment has been the centerpiece of numerous court cases and legal decisions that have established government standards regarding harassment. In 1998, the U.S. Supreme Court made two important rulings that have had a significant effect on harassment claims. In Burlington Industries, Inc. v. Ellerth, the court ruled that, even if an employee did not report incidents of alleged harassment right when they occurred, the company was still liable for the behavior of the employee who committed the sexual acts. In Faragher v. City of Boca Raton, the court held that an employer could be held liable for harassment if a supervisor made threats regarding punishment if an employee did not have sex with him, even if those threats were never carried out. Together, the two decisions made it clear that the court holds companies strictly liable for actions carried out by supervisors who have direct authority over the person they are harassing, if the supervisor can alter the victim's employment status through hiring, firing, refusal to promote, etc…
Therefore, all of the above consequences may come from media which reproduce and present the gender ideology several times. A male president of well-known company gave a television interview describing that he is an ironhanded and strict person. He runs his business with a male executives and the company’s turnover or business profit was going very well for instance. Another example is from when the debating among John McCain and Barack Obama in 2008, all media present both of them characteristics, backgrounds, and contributions over and over again in order to indicate how good they are. In contrast, a woman become a problem and makes the male leader look negative immediately no matter whether how good she is for her work, in case of a scandal of Mr. Bill Clinton and Ms. Monica Lewinsky for example and the media tried to expose this issue for months. In addition, movies also reproduce the qualifications and duties of women as a weaker sex.
In short, ideology distinguishes people into the strong side and weak side in a society, on the other hand, ideology is an important tool to control a society and media significantly play a role of information or belief distribution. People usually defer whatever the media impose to them such as news presentation, television or radio interview, movies and so on. Therefore, ideology has both advantage and disadvantage for civil governance in the same time.
Cranston, M. (2005). Ideology. The Competitiveness of Nations in a Global Knowledge-Based Economy. Available http://www.culturaleconomics.atfreeweb.com/Anno/Cranston%20Ideology%20EB%202003.htm.
Crossley, N. (2005). Key Concepts in Critical Social Theory. London: Sage. pp. 113-117, 147-156.
Kroska, A. and Elman, C. (2006). Gender Ideology Discrepancies: Exploring a Control Model of Gender Ideology Change. Paper presented at the annual meeting of the American Sociological Association, Montreal Convention Center, Montreal, Quebec, Canada available http://www.allacademic.com/meta/p105145_index.html
Morash, M. (2006). Understanding gender, crime, and justice. California. Sage publication.
Katherine, C. N.(1994). Through the Glass Ceiling: Prospects for the Advancement of Women in the Federal Civil Service. Public Administration Review, Vol. 54