Dominant Ideology in the United States
Dominant ideology is the prevalent culture, values, traditions, beliefs, practices, and such in a particular group. Within the structure of society, dominant ideology stands for what majority of the people who make up society uphold as their philosophies, values, beliefs, thoughts, principles, etc. (Dominant Ideology Thesis, 1998) Dominant ideology represents what the people stand for. Moreover, it is not only represented in the observable actions, behavior, and way of thinking of people within a group or society, but is also evident in the material or tangible culture existing within their societal circle.
For instance, the dominant ideology of society may be interpreted and expressed through literature, music, movies, theater, television programs, sport events, and such. The dominant ideology of the United States leans toward the concept of humanism, such that the nation upholds rationality, morality, and the condition of human life as basis for philosophies, values, or belief systems. (Edwords, 1989) Specifically, the dominant ideology of the United States endorses democracy and liberalism, as well as corporate power and capitalism (Bayes, 2005).
Although democracy and liberalism when compared with corporate power and capitalism may be conflicting in several aspects, it still proves to establish what the United States stands for as a nation. The argument of democracy and liberalism as a dominant ideology is the inability of the nation to accomplish it fully (Baves, 2005). Still, inequality exists, and so does prejudice, bias, unfairness and such. However, it does not mean that the non-accomplishment of the dominant ideology makes it invalid for such label.
The nation might uphold the values and beliefs of democracy and liberalism, and corporate power and capitalism, at the same time while failing to accomplish what it means for the nation. The dominant ideologies aforementioned in previous discussions are represented in American literature, music, movies, theater, television programs, and even sports events. The theme of these products of culture always contains hints of democracy, liberalism, corporate power, and capitalism. For instance, the major themes of American literature and theater are the strong advocacy for democracy and liberalism.
“The Crucible” and “Death of a Salesman” by Arthur Miller, “Uncle Tom’s Cabin” by Harriet Beecher Stowe, and such plays and novels are American classic literature that criticizes repression, injustice, and discrimination. Tales of the history of American Indians are also strong forces that build upon the advocacy of American literature and theater for democracy and liberalism. (Major Themes in American Literature, 2008) Themes of American music, movies, and television programs represent liberalism, and in some aspects, corporate power and capitalism.
Liberalism is applied in American music, movies, and television programs because themes or plots could be anything. American artists are more open-minded when it comes to art and expression in properties of media such as music, movies, and television that themes go a long way from conservatism, to rationalism, humanism, to classical, historical, and such. Themes always vary according to artistic interest and inclinations that sets the liberalism as a dominant ideology.
Exhibiting corporate power and capitalism may be observed from the setting of movies, such that most movies, music, and television shows represent in one way or another, the concept of the American dream – which when analyzed deeply represents utopia which symbolizes power and perfection. Sports events also represent the dominant ideology of corporate power and capitalism. Famous American sports such as basketball, American football, and baseball, represent the dominant ideologies of the country. Sports events are capitalistic in nature, such that almost every aspect of it boils down to business.
Americans patronize sporting events, as it is highly advertised to the public. Majority of Americans attend these sporting events, then comes the opportunity for business institutions to make profit from it, by selling tickets, food, props, and such. I believe it is capitalistic in nature because of the strong business context of sporting events. References Bayes, J. (2005). “Democratic Dreams in the United States in the Age of Empire: A Feminist Perspective from the North” Paper presented at the annual meeting of the International Studies Association, Hilton Hawaiian Village, Honolulu, Hawaii.
Retrieved October 15, 2008, from All Academic Incorporated. Website: http://www. allacademic. com/meta/p70048_index. html Dominant Ideology Thesis. (1998). Retrieved October 15, 2008, from Highbeam Research, Inc. Website: http://www. encyclopedia. com/doc/1O88-dominantideologythesis. html Edwords, F. (1989). What is Humanism? Retrieved October 15, 2008, from the American Humanist Association. Website: http://www. jcn. com/humanism. html Major Themes in American Literature. (2008). Retrieved October 15, 2008, from JHSSAAC. Website: http://school. jhssac. org/Faculty/HrgaI/documents/Summaryofthe5Themes. pdf
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