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In this famous broadcast, Cronkite acknowledged that America was "mired in stalemate."




The Resiliency
of the Establishment (Cont.)

A
lthough Williams writes that ideology is "secondary or superstructural," the legitimating force of ideology cannot be denied. Escalation in Vietnam cannot be separated from Cold War ideology. Indeed, ideologies are a means by which hegemony is reproduced. Apropos of this, Louis Althusser's concept of Ideological State Apparatuses describes these processes. He articulated the idea of Ideological State Apparatuses, groups of "distinct and specialized institutions" that operate largely in the private domain (for instance, religious, educational, family, cultural, and communication apparatuses).31 These apparatuses function by ideology, and though they are ostensibly diverse, "what unifies their diversity is precisely this functioning, insofar as the ideology by which they function is always in fact unified, despite its diversity and its contradictions, beneath the ruling ideology, which is the ideology of the 'ruling class.'"32 Thus, in the case of Vietnam, Cold War ideology was disseminated not only through the media, but through churches, schools, and the like. Althusser was careful to distinguish between ideologies (which have histories and are dynamic) and ideology (which has no history). His distinction is based on the idea that ideology is structural; the substance can vary (for example, Cold War ideology versus Christian ideology), allowing for different ideologies, but the structure remains intact. Althusser argued that the structure of ideology was linked to the structure of the unconscious, and ideology was thus directly related to "Freud's proposition that the unconscious is enternal, i.e. that it has no history."33

Althusser wrote, "Ideology represents the imaginary relationship of individuals to their real conditions of existence."34 The reason why people require this imaginary representation is material alienation. Whether or not when subscribes to Marxism per se, it is useful to think in terms of dominant and subordinate groups (see the previous discussion of hegemony) and the processes by which dominance is maintained. Althusser argued that the Ideological State Apparatuses effectively reproduce the "relations of production" and by extension the "ruling" ideology.35 These apparatuses, which are counterposed against Repressive State Apparatuses (similar to Gramsci's distinctions between consent and coercion), maintain hegemony. Although Althusser argues that the educational apparatus is foremost among the others, he notes that the communications apparatus operates "by cramming every 'citizen' with daily doses of nationalism, chauvinism, liberalism, moralism, etc, by means of the press, radio and television."36




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Introduction

Subjectivity, Mediation, & Violence

The Resiliency of the Establishment

The Sway of Consensus

Ideology as Narrative

Technology & Morality

Conclusion

Endnotes

Works Consulted