Althusser and surveillence essay

How does it function in society, and also in subject formation? A historian, Michel Foucault saw himself as an archaeologist who looked at layers of ideas and concepts.

Althusser and surveillence essay

Ideology and Interpellation One of the central topics of study in the humanities is the question of ideology. There are many theories about what it is and how it works. Institutions sort people into groups and then into particular roles; they shape and police our behaviors and our boundaries.

Althusser wanted to understand why we tend to feel free, though we are constrained by our identities within a system of ideological categories. One explanation is that we believe we can reject the interpellating message, just as the taxi driver can reject the person who wants a ride. To demonstrate the power and invisibility of ideology to my students, I use a simple lesson.

On the first day of class, students fill up the available desks and face the front of the room. When I start talking, they shift attention to me and many start taking notes.

I point out to them that their behaviors had to be learned and result from efforts by the institution of school to sort people into groups and to shape their behaviors. The proof of ideology at work is that my students no longer need to be told what to do when they come in a new classroom for the first time.

Ideology is all around us, hidden in plain sight. Critique alone is largely ineffective against ideology. One reason for its ineffectiveness is that ideology articulates us as part of a discursive social system when we are small children, before we are capable of employing the most powerful tools of critical thinking.

Ideology works in the family, for instance, by gendering us as subjects before we are old enough to reason abstractly about our experiences—indeed, before we are even born—or before we are able to compare and contrast our experiences to those of other groups.

Ideology is pre-reflective, or to put it another way, ideology is like software for a computer, and thus a necessary condition for our making sense of the world. To uncover ideology is to disclose to ourselves our sense-making apparatus, our social order, and our understanding of past experiences.

Another is that ideology, as Foucault taught us, is a system of discipline, punishment, and rewards, and thus it operates beyond the level of cognition, individual belief, and free choice.

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A third is that ideology functions largely unconsciously as a screen or interface that we use to make sense of the world. Althusser stated that every society must reproduce itself.

But the reproduction of society entails reproducing the conditions of production in other words—it has to reproduce the conditions that make possible the production of goods and serviceswhich makes things a bit more complicated because in addition to reproducing the materials of production, we must also reproduce the labor.

Just as machinery breaks down or becomes obsolete, so too do the people by getting old and dying. They need to be replaced by the younger generation. Thus, even though everyone within the society dies, the society perpetuates their roles and relationships and with them the practices of exploitation and domination.

Businesses such as factories are the beneficiaries of the socialization process. Though they may do some training themselves, they rely mostly on an interlocking group of institutions to do all the prior socialization and training for them. These other institutions include families and schools, but also entertainment and religions, because in addition to learning skills, the labor force needs to learn submission to the social order, in other words, to learn the ideology of the ruling class.

For instance, families sustain themselves through wages and use a portion of those wages to raise their children to replace them. In other words, businesses outsource their labor reproduction costs to families and schools. Of course, each institution is also a site of struggle between the ruling class and oppressed classes, but these institutions operate mostly by and for the interests of the ruling class.

In addition to reproducing labor, institutions such as family, school, church, and entertainment need to reproduce themselves. Each one does so by sorting people into categories of leaders and followers. Church must reproduce the clergy and the laity. There are far fewer clergy than laity and there is a rigorous system of training and sorting to weed out those who are not as ideologically committed to church doctrine and practice.

Those going into entertainment must submit themselves to its ideological regime. Families produce future parents who will raise future children.

They sort out who among the children will receive more resources and privileges and thus will be more likely to reproduce the family structure in the next generation. The RSAs have a monopoly on violence such as imprisonment, torture, execution, exile, etc.

Althusser noted that even in revolutions such as in Francethe RSAs are usually left intact. The new government perpetuates the same roles as the old one and prepares people to assume those roles in much the same way that the old government did.

The ISAs usually function without direct force though as a backup, they can and do resort to violent repressionbut instead use other forms of persuasion.My two cents: these days, 45 years after Althusser’s essay was published, I argue that the entertainment-family partnership might be more powerful than the school-family partnership.

It habituates us to screens, to surveillance, and to alienation: the dominant conditions of modern economic life. Althusser, Ideology and Interpellation The French philosopher, Louis Althusser, first popularized the word in his seminal essay “Ideology and Ideological State Apparatuses (Notes towards an Investigation)” (Althusser, ).

Surveillance is defined as the close monitoring of the actions of a specific individual. The surveillance technology systems are devices that identify monitors and track the movements and data. Surveillance has raised a lot of concerns in privacy issues in the advancing technology.

Apr 30,  · These are the sources and citations used to research Surveillance essay. Althusser, L. and Brewster, B. Lenin and philosophy, and other essays - Monthly Review Press - New York.

Althusser and surveillence essay

In-text: (Althusser and Brewster, ) Your Bibliography: Althusser, L. and Brewster, B One surveillance camera for every 11 people in Britain, says CCTV. Apr 30,  · Althusser, L. and Brewster, B. Lenin and philosophy, and other essays - Monthly Review Press - New York. Buy a cheap copy of Lenin and Philosophy and Other Essays book by Louis Althusser.

No figure among the western Marxist theoreticians has loomed larger in the postwar period than Louis Althusser. A rebel against the Catholic tradition in which he Free shipping over $

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