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Dominant Ideology

  The term dominant ideology means the principal ideas, values and morals in a given society. It is a particular version of reality but only one of a number of possible versions. These ideas may, however, be so well-established that members of society believe them to be naturally given and beyond question. It is possible for different ideologies to exist within a given society different versions of reality but they lack the persuasive power and generalized acceptance enjoyed by the dominant ideology.

Marxist sociologists have pointed out that ideologies are rarely neutral, and serve to justify and support the interests of a powerful social group over less-powerful groups. The dominant ideology thesis asserts that working-class subordination in capitalist societies is largely the outcome of the cultural dominance achieved by the capitalist class. For Marx, the ruling ideas in a given society are always the ideas of the ruling social group. Feminist sociologists make a similar point, but starting from a different premise.

Sociologists such as Abercrombie criticize the dominant ideology thesis, arguing that its proponents overestimate the extent to which different groups are integrated into the dominant culture, and underestimate the extent to which different groups can generate ideas which run counter to dominant ideologies. DA

See also assimilation; class; conflict theory; critical theory; culture; discourse; hegemony; ideology; internalization; Marxism; norms; power; social control; social integration; socialization; social movements; sociology of knowledge; subculture; values.Further reading N. Abercrombie, , S. Hill, , B.S. Turner, The Dominant Ideology Thesis; , J. Larrain, The Concept of Ideology.



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