• Ideology is a difficult - but important -
concept to grasp. Simply put, it is the
ideas behind a media text, the secret (or
sometimes not-so secret) agenda of its
• These sets of beliefs in the media are
those held by groups within society, and
the common ones are those held by the
Dominant ideology or hegemony
• In any society the accepted and agreed beliefs are those of the ruling class,
i.e. the class with all the money, is at the same time its ruling intellectual
(with all the ideas) force.
• Hegemony is the concept used by Marxist critic Antonio Gramsci to describe
how people are influenced into accepting the dominance of a power elite
who impose their will and world view on the rest of population. Gramsi
argues that this elite is able to rule because the rest of the population allow it
to do so. The media it can be argued plays a central role in accepting the
dominant views of the powerful.
• Hegemony is not a forced political movement. Football currently has
hegemonic status in the UK - glance through the sports pages and see what
coverage other sports get - and everyone is expected to understand and
accept its national importance.
• No one is forced to watch/listen to/read about football. It's just sometimes it
seems that there are few alternatives. This is how hegemonies take hold: a
majority decide to 'fit in' with the cultural values and ideas of their time and
place and the minority keep their objections quiet. Hegemony is about
consent, and one of the things it consents to is inequality - us and them.
• Noam Chomsky an American critic of
media, argues that popular culture can be
used to divert people’s attention from real
issues such as their conditions of
employment. He argues that it is only the
intellectual and educated classes who
must be persuaded to agree with the
ideological values of the ruling elite.
• Key areas
1. Race – black panthers, KKK, civil rights,
influence of blacks on rock n roll
2. Peace movement – hippy movement
3. The war in Vietnam
4. Representation of women – Jenny