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Exploring Conflict, Culture and Identity Questions.

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Introduction

Sociology - Keith Topic 3- Exploring Conflict, Culture and Identity Questions Q1. Ideology is the transmission of ruling class norms and values as normal via the cultural institutions such as family, education and media. These norms and values justify the capitalism system and give the impression that the capitalist society is meritocratic. For example the education system socialises the working class children to believe that their educational failure is due to lack of ability and effort, when really it is because the capitalist system fails them purposely in order to maintain that they will remain working class and continue with factory work etc. Television also socialises the working class into believing that consensus is the norm and that serious protest about the way society works is 'extremist'. Q2. The mass media socialises the working class into a conformist identity by transmitting the ruling class' idea that if you work hard you can get on. ...read more.

Middle

Marxists describe this as false class-consciousness. This prevents the working class from challenging capitalism because the ruling class control all the cultural institutions that are responsible for socialising them. Louis Althusser (1971) argued that the function of these cultural institutions is to maintain and legitimate this class inequality. The cultural institutions, such as advertising, encourage the working class to passively accept inequality by making them see their lives satisfied by the fulfilment of false needs through acquiring consumer items. The working class are persuaded to accept their lot and may even be convinced that capitalism had provided them with a decent standard of living. Marxists argue that capitalist ideology shapes the way of life of a society. For example the way the mass media convince people that their priority should be to buy more material goods. Individuals then want to be rich so that they can buy more and more and this will make them happy. This could fuel deviant acts such as crime. ...read more.

Conclusion

The opposition is representational in that behaviour often shocks society, but provisional in that they eventually develop into passive adults. Marxism may put too much emphasis on conflict. After all, regardless of all its inequalities, capitalism has managed to improve most people's standard of living. Perhaps Marxism also ignores common interests that employers and workers have. If workers work well then the business does well and employers can afford to increase their wages. Marxism in general has been criticised for claiming that every cultural activity is geared to class interests. Subsequently Marxists disregard the fact that culture could reflect religious, patriarchal, nationalistic and ethnic interests. Despite criticisms, the Marxism theory has raised a lot of valid points about the ruling class and how they control society and evidence has been found to back up these points. For example it is true that owners of newspapers in the UK is concentrated in the hands of six owners. Some of these control global transnationals who monopolise a range of different media, such as television and film. ...read more.

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