How we change what others think, feel, believe and do
Ideological State Apparatus
Althusser revised Marx's view of ideology, which he described as:
"...thought as an imaginary construction whose status is exactly like the theoretical status of the dream among writers before Freud."
He built on Lacan's work, presenting ideology as an imaginary construction that represents the real world. However, it is so real to us that we never question it.
In a highly influential essay, Althusser identified the 'Ideological State Apparatus' as the method by which organizations propagate ideology. This is in contrast to the Repressive State Apparatus (RSA), by which compliance can be forced and includes the army, police.
The ISA contrasts with the RSA in that it produces willing compliance.
Ideological State Apparatuses include those used in religion, law, politics, trade unions, media and the family. Althusser puts education at the top of the tree:
"What the bourgeoisie has installed as its number-one, i.e. as its dominant ideological State apparatus, is the educational apparatus, which has in fact replaced in its functions the previously dominant ideological State apparatus, the Church."
Althusser, L. (1989). 'Ideology and ideological state apparatuses' in Lenin and Philosophy and other Essays. London: New Left Books pp 170-86
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