Tuesday, February 22, 2011
Monday, February 21, 2011
"...ruling groups in a society actively seek to have their worldview accepted by all members of society as the universal way of thinking. Institutions such as schools, religion, and the media help the powerful exercise this cultural leadership since they are the sites where we produce and reproduce ways of thinking about society." p.166
"Hegemony, however, is not something that is permanent; it is neither 'done' nor unalterable. Gramsci (1971) understood hegemony as a process that was always in the making. To effectively wield power through consent, ideological work through cultural leadership was an ongoing necessity. The terrain of common sense and the natural must be continually reinforced because people’s actual experiences will lead them to question dominant ideological assumptions. People are active agents, and modern society is full of contradictions; therefore, hegemony can never be complete or final. Some people will not accept the basic hegemonic worldview, some people may resist it, and changing historical conditions will make certain aspects of hegemonic ideology untenable. Ultimately, Gramsci saw hegemony as a daily struggle about our underlying conceptions of the world, a struggle always subject to revision and opposition. Rulers, who try to maintain their power by defining the assumptions on which the society rests, work to bring stability and legitimacy and to incorporate potentially opposing forces into the basic ideological framework." p.167-168
These three quotes combined seem to carry a strong message. The simplest way I can interpret this text's meaning is that "cultural norms" ideologies can be taught or talked about via schools, religion and the media and that in order for them to be effective the agenda has to be pushed continuously, or one could be left comparing to one's own life and no longer relating or believing the presented "norm".
The way these quotes are relevant to the text is by first connecting it to a class example when we were talking about the windows and mirrors that teenagers must be provided with in their life experiences. If the image being feed to them are constantly windows, the need for a mirror are going to grow. Whether this is understood by the individual immediately or not, if the space is allowed for reflection the thought will eventually come forward.
In the text several media pieces that go against the 'ideal norms' are mentioned, including a PBS documentary titled, 'Tongues Untied' which is about a homosexual black gay man. When researching this piece, I came across a particular YouTube video that to me captured a "mirror" reaction. It may be viewed below:
This to me speaks volumes on what happens when someone's personal experience links up with what they see in the media. This should be the new continuos feeling, with media, at school and even through religion.
Mirrors should be the new communicators, who's ready to put some up?