Althusser’s Ideological State Apparatus
Published in 1970, Ideology and Ideological State Apparatuses (Notes towards an Investigation) was Althusser’s exploration of ideology, how it is disseminated and how it is consumed. Althusser proposes that there are a number of ideological state apparatuses (ISAs) through which the dominant ideology is disseminated, the predominant of which is the education ISA.
Althusser’s original piece is 18,000 words long and available here. For the purposes of this discussion, we shall focus on a key section of the text where Althusser explores the key ISAs and how they operate. The extract is available here. Ideally, it would be preferable to read the full article, but if this is not possible the extract should enable you to partake in the conversation.
The #radlibchat will focus on a number of key questions to help frame the discussion:
- Does ideology create a false consciousness that can be overcome or is it entirely unconscious?
- What role do libraries play in reinforcing the dominant ideologies within the education ISA?
- Althusser wrote his theory in 1970, before the internet. Is it still relevant? Is the educational ISA still dominant?
- To what extent do library spaces create and maintain the interpellation of users of the service, directing and removing active agency within the community?
- How can we in our roles subvert the dominant ideology? Is it possible within larger structures that reinforce them?
#radlibchat will take place at 2000 BST on Tuesday 21st July and will be hosted by @RadicalLibs on Twitter, comments and discussion are also encouraged in the comments below, both for further discussion and so as to enable those not on Twitter to engage in the discussions.
Suggestions for articles to discuss at future #radlibchat events can be made using the Google Form here.