Our values and attitudes towards a whole range of issues and people are largely determined by the cultural context in which they have grown up.
Our beliefs shape behaviour towards other people and attitudes towards particular groups and issues. These remain relatively constant, however they mature as you mature and your experiences become more diverse.
“Whoever controls the media, controls the mind“ – Jim Morrison
Think of some Australian cultural beliefs?
- Aussie Battler
- Egalitarian Society (equality)
- Strong beer culture
- “She’ll be right” (No worries/very relaxed)
Ideology refers to a shared set of ideas, beliefs and practices that enables a society to function in an organised way. An ideology reflects the values of social groups who have power in a society and it provides a framework through which people understand the world.
Another way to describe it is as a ‘collective myth’, this is because we draw from traditional ideas and tales when we think about groups of people or particular subjects. Even if the ideas are proven wrong and are no longer valid, we still often draw on the mythology rather than our own knowledge of what we know is the real truth.
Mythology refers to the stories that shape the way we see ourselves and our culture. The complexity of the original story is often lost through the continuity of retelling until the myth merely has a simple, straight-forward message that seems to be an eternal truth. They originate in truth but as they evolve and adapt with society they are characterised as much by what is not said by the message itself.
Discourse refers to a collection of assumptions or a mere framework that sets guidelines on a specific issue or subject. There will be numerous discourses circulating about anyone topic of social value, reflecting all the different ways that audiences think about cultural and/or social issues. Generally unspoken, the assumptions you make within a certain discourse reflect your beliefs and values and your ideological position on issues. This is Demographic Discourse.
The concept of ideology is connected with the notions of mythology and discourse. Ideology in summary is the central picture within which mythology and discourse function.
Like discourses, ideology is not visible. It is something that is existent upon our birth which shapes the way we view the world, but we take it for granted and seldom question it. The media offer constant reinforcement of our ideology, both legitimising it and making it appear the natural way of doing things in our society and daily lives.
What drives our society is economics, we live in a world that is highly materialistic. Our society is also consistently representing values of consumerism and skepticism. Hence it is believed by many that in today’s society, this is the most skeptical we have ever been.