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Introducing Media Representations 6

Steve Campsall | Wednesday December 08, 2010

Categories: Introductory Resources, Intro to Media Representations

Dominant Ideologies

Some people see media texts as harmless and just there for their audience’s entertainment – we can take them or leave them; others suggest that media texts help create, reinforce or support a certain view of society and the world. This is a view, they claim, that reflects not the concerns of the majority, but the concerns of those who own companies and have wealth and power.

  • Society’s commonly held ideas or world-view – its ‘dominant values’ and ‘belief systems’ – are referred to as its dominant ideologies.

The people who make media texts have personal values, ways of thinking about the world that they feel are the ‘right’ or ‘best’ way; ways that suit them, of course; ways that they see as ‘common sense’. These ways of thinking and values are often shared with large numbers of people, sometimes all the people in the ‘West’ say, or just all the people in a country or those who follow a particular religion. These ways of thinking are called ‘dominant ideologies’.

It is important that you are alert to these ‘value-messages’ or ‘dominant ideologies’. They occur in one way or another in all media texts. It’s useful for your marks and grades if you can detect the core values a society or culture holds within media texts and the ways by which the text is reinforcing that such values are the best values – ‘common sense’ values, even presenting them as the ‘truth’.

These values are embedded, often ‘between the lines’, within the images and messages of media texts.

It will help your marks a great deal if you can detect them and assess their likely impact on the media text’s audience, rather than accepting them as somehow ‘normal’ or ‘natural’ to hold.

A dominant ideology is a ‘value’, ‘belief’ or even a system of beliefs that is shared by the majority of people within a group, society or culture.

The diagram to the right shows the...

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