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Repressive And Ideological State Apparatus Cultural Studies Essay

Althusser (xxxx) points out that, to assure its existence and continuity, “every (industrialized) social formation must reproduce the conditions of its production at the same time as it produces.” Therefore, societies must be able to reproduce and maintain their productive forces as well as the exiting relations of production. He makes clear that, in order for these processes to be successful, capitalist societies put into operation (repressive) state and ideological state apparatuses.

On the one hand, departing from stringent Marxist ideas, Althusser states that the repressive state apparatus is embodied by the prison , the courts, the police, the army, etc. which ensure the domination of the bourgeois capitalist society over the working classes by “securing the political conditions of the reproduction of relations of production” so the latter is subjected capitalist exploitation. This apparatus function mainly by violence, which not necessarily always take physical form. In other words, “force is used to obtain compliance in the society” (Francis, 1995). However, a distinction is made between state apparatus and state power, being the latter related to the objective of the class struggle while the former is the concerned repressive actions and may survive circumstances affecting the tenure of the state power.

On the other hand, ideological state apparatuses (ISAs) refer to a body of specialized institutions including the church, the educational, the family, etc. the communications which function predominantly by ideology, and secondarily, by repression since school and church often apply mechanisms of repression such as punishment, expulsion, selection, etc.

According to Althusser, ideology functions or acts by recruiting and transforming every single individual into subjects in a process is called interpellation. At the same time, ideology allows mutual recognition among subjects and, eventually, the subject’s recognition of himself, which assures that the subject freely recognizes and accepts his own subjection to a meaningful, natural and commonsensical way of viewing the world. McLaren states that ideology can be described as “the intersection of meaning and power in the social world” where rituals, social practices, values and beliefs are seen as “common sense.” Extending this idea he adds that:

“ (Ideology) produce(s) in the individuals distorted conceptions of their place in the sociocultural order and thereby serve to reconcile them to that place and to disguise the inequitable relations of power and privilege.”

In spite of their differences, the unity of the ISAs is secured as long as they work under the principles of the ruling ideology as the ruling class has the power of the (repressive) state apparatus so it is acceptable that “this same ruling class is active on that Ideological State apparatuses insofar as it is ultimately the ruling ideology which is realized”. As long as the (repressive) state apparatus is unified under “the leadership of representatives of the classes in power” the ISAs are relatively autonomous and provide a buffer zone to mitigate the clash between capitalist and proletarian classes. Therefore, the (repressive) state apparatus provides a shield for ISAs, which concentrate the ruling ideology, to “largely secure the reproduction specifically of the relation of production.”

The Educational State Apparatus

Althusser special attention to Educational state apparatus and puts forward the idea of school as the dominant ISA due to its paramount role in the reproduction of the relations of production. This apparatus has been installed by the bourgeoisie, the author explains, to replace the previously predominant ISA: the church the reason for this is that “school has replaced church in its functions.” He states that the power of this ISA resides on that no other ISA has the obligatory function of leading the children at their most vulnerable age, “squeezed between family and school”, into the capitalist social formation during such long periods of time weekly.

It is by “transmitting the skills and knowledge necessary for workers to adjust to their role in capitalist mode of production” (Francis, 1995) and producing marketable knowledge (Phillipson, xxxx) that the relation between exploiter and exploited is intensively reproduced. School appears as a ‘neutral’ environment where parents can endeavor their children to ‘free’ and ‘conscious’ teachers for them to lead students along a path of ‘liberating’ virtues. In other words, school fulfills three basic functions in capitalist societies: economic-reproductive, ideological (inoculation of values, attitudes and beliefs) and repressive (the imposition of sanctions for not accede the demands of the school) (Phillipson, xxxx).

Hegemony

Antonio Gramsci (as cited in Stillo, 1999) develops the concept of hegemony departing from the Marxist concepts of base/superstructure, economic determination and class struggle. However, he considers these ideas as overly deterministic and focuses on the superstructural institutions where political and ideological institutions as well as the hopes, dreams and culture of a society can be found, i.e. ,as McLaren (2003) states, “hegemony could not do its work without the support of ideology”. Gramsci states that the supremacy of the bourgeoisie is based on two equally important concepts, these being the economic domination and intellectual and moral leadership.

He claims that class struggle must always involve ideas and ideologies, which would make the revolution or prevent it. Furthermore, Stillo (1999) states the Gramsci recognizes the importance of the human agency since “economic crises by themselves would not subvert capitalism” and builds up a more “dialectic” than “deterministic” theory stressing the “autonomy, independence and importance of culture and ideology.”

Stillo (1999), on referring to Gramci’s theory discuss that the concept of hegemony as a process where the ruling class persuades subordinated classes to accept its moral, political and cultural values. Hegemony, in this sense, can be understood as a “set of ideas by means of which dominant groups strive to secure the consent of the subordinated groups to their leadership.” In other words, hegemony is a struggle in which the dominant win the consent of the oppressed, “with the oppressed unknowingly participating in their own oppression” (McLaren, 2003). However, consent in not always achieved peacefully and “may combine coercion with intellectual, moral and cultural inducement” In other words, social control be sustained in two ways: coercive and consensual. While the latter is exercised by direct force and threat, the latter “arises when the individuals voluntarily assimilate the worldview of the dominant group.” Dominant groups will provide the symbols, representation and social practices in such a way that the unequal relations of power remain hidden (McLaren, 2003). Thus, the oppressed

Furthermore, hegemony must be constantly renewed, re-negotiated and can never be taken for granted. In fact, during revolutionary scenarios, “the function of the hegemonic does not disappear but changes its character” (Stillo, 1999).

In this fashion, hegemony goes beyond culture and ideology. Culture represents the way in which “men and women define and shape their lives”, while ideology is a system of values and meanings projects a particular class interest, thus “the form in which consciousness is at once expressed and controlled” (Stillo, 1999). Strinaty, 1995: 168-169) holds that Hegemony operates culturally and ideologically through state ideological apparatuses which characterizes capitalist societies and that these institutions namely the church, the family, the school, popular culture, etc. are determinant in the construction of our beliefs, identity, opinions under the rule of a dominant “common sense.” In other words, hegemony is entirely related to the issues of ideology and is itself “ideology that has been institutionalized and legalized by ruling classes” (Cheng & Hsiao, 2001).

English Language and cultural hegemony.

As described above, “the dominant culture is able to exercise its domination through over the subordinates classes or groups” through hegemony (McLaren, 2003). That is, a struggle in which the dominant classes win the consent of those oppressed with the latter unknowingly participating in its own oppression. Here dominant culture refers to a set of practices, ideologies, and values that asserts the interests and concerns of the social class “in control of the material and symbolic wealth of society.” McLaren (2003), states that dominant cultural forms are referred as those symbols and social practices that express the dominant culture’s way of shaping their lives and make sense of the world. Cultural forms include music, clothes, food, religion and education as well as television, films and video. Extending this idea, he suggests that it seems central to link the concept of dominant culture and its cultural forms with wider structural scope:

“Cultural forms don’t exist apart from sets of structural underpinnings which are related to the means of economic production, the mobilization of desire, the construction of social values, asymmetries of power/ knowledge, configuration of ideologies, and relations of class, race and gender”

In this view, language becomes a key element for the transmission of the dominant culture, and its correspondent cultural forms, to the subordinated classes. The learning of English “unavoidably brings with it an invasion of Western Culture” (Qiang & Wolff, 2004) as well as fosters western countries cultural, economic and political domination that goes “hand-in-hand with the language that encodes the cultural practices that it helps to sustain.” Reinforcing this idea, Whorf (1986) states that the structure of language directly influences how speakers will understand and organize the world around them and contributes enormously to “the formation of personal and cultural meanings and identity.”

But for these aspects to remain hidden, English language needs to be divorced from cultural and social matters and be presented as non-political, divorced from wider social, educational and cultural issues (Phillipson, xxxx). This makes of English a marketable, standard product focused on technical and pedagogical aspects, which allows cultural hegemonic matters without scrutiny.

Another aspect that contributes to the hegemony of the dominant culture is the intimate relationship between English Language and economic prosperity. Gaffey (xxxx) suggests that the success of English worldwide relies on that learning the language is believed to help people to achieve a better quality of life and on the dogmatic idea of English as concrete solution for the economic disadvantage. English also promotes the entrance to a culturally “modern” western-like world, which enhances the ideological incorporation intensively and extensively. Furthermore Pennycook (xxxx) explains that:

‘teaching [and learning] English as a second or foreign language is not only good business, in terms of the production of teaching materials of all kinds … but also it is good politics.’ (p. 63). Given the connections … between English and the export of certain forms of culture and knowledge, and between English and the maintenance of social, economic and political élites, it is evident that the promotion of English around the world may bring very real economic and political advantages to the promoters of that spread. (p. 22)

Extending this idea, Moffat (2004) suggests that the link that exist between English and economic prosperity is a prove of how the economic power of the centre is transferred to English Language. Furthermore, she asserts that when non-English speakers realize about the economic benefits of speaking English, such us higher paid jobs, they are induced to accept the language as a possibility of better life. In this sense, the learning of English appears to be as commonsensical and as “the natural state of affairs” and, even more important, the “interest of a whole nation” rather than a personal choice reflecting specific interests (Gaffey, xxxx)

Hence, English language becomes the vehicle that allows the dominant culture to become hegemonic since dominated classes voluntarily accept not only the language, but the dominant culture which the language brings with it through the operation non-coercive forces in view of becoming part of prosper, modern world.

English Linguistic Hegemony.

As stated above, ideology is a constituent element of hegemony and latter cannot function without the former. A comprehensive definition of linguistic hegemony is offered by Wiley (2000):

Linguistic hegemony is achieved when dominant groups create a consensus by convincing others to accept their language norms and usage as standard or paradigmatic. Hegemony is ensured when they can convince those who fail to meet those standards to view the failure as being result of the inadequacy of their own language.

Ideological structures supported by the dominated are vital for the operation of hegemony. Thus, non-coercive forces are to be present in the process of internalization of the dominant group ideas by the dominated and legitimated through the Ideological states apparatuses.

Suarez (2002) Linguistic hegemony is asserted and legitimated when the dominant language is promoted as a way of getting social, cultural or economic benefits out of its use. For example, Gaffey (xxxx) suggests that the success of English worldwide relies on that the sole act of learning the language is believed to help people to achieve a better quality of life and on the dogmatic idea of English as concrete solution for the economic disadvantage. These ideas are enthusiastically supported by the benefits that monolingual communication may bring about due to the link that exist between communication and financial success. At the same time, English promotes the entrance to a culturally “modern” western-like world, which enhances the ideological incorporation intensively and extensively through pop-music, films, television and magazines. Extending this idea, Moffat (2004) suggests that the link that exist between English and economic prosperity is a prove of how the economic power of the centre is transferred to English Language

A theory that reinforces the hegemonic conception of English is Bourdieu …..

Pennycook (1994) draws from Ndebele (1987) to support

this view that English produces and reproduces élites who consistently profit

from knowing that language:

‘teaching [and learning] English as a second or foreign language is

not only good business, in terms of the production of teaching materials

of all kinds … but also it is good politics.’ (p. 63). Given

the connections … between English and the export of certain

forms of culture and knowledge, and between English and the

maintenance of social, economic and political élites, it is evident

that the promotion of English around the world may bring very

real economic and political advantages to the promoters of that

spread. (p. 22)

These “élites” are mostly people for whom English is the first language. However,

a large number of non-native English speakers are convinced that by learning

English they will enter the inner circle of those with “very real economic and

political advantages”.

( no iria) ELT Ideology (also include something from Trojan horse article)

However, although ELT ideology relies on its benefits, there are “corresponding inferred threats that negative consequences will result from a failure to convert to the dominant (ELT) ideology,” which are used to enhance the desire for learning the language (Gaffey, xxxx). For example, negative minority languages might be associated to poverty and conflict, which might be interpreted as disadvantages in accessing educational and economic resources.

Furthermore, it may argued that success of ELT ideology, also remains in the asymmetrical relationship that exist between the centre and periphery regarding authority in the production of ELT material and immaterial resources. The former being books, teaching positions, etc. while the latter includes ideas, teaching principles and pedagogy that the periphery should seek as the “norm” imparted by universities and “experts” of the centre (Phillipson, xxxx). This unidirectional flow of information, which eventually poses English as dominant a language, is legitimized by anglocentricity and professionalism. Anglocentricity refers to the representation and functions of English, i.e. where English can lead people to. Professionalism includes the whole body of techniques, methods and procedures, which are constantly renewed to maintain the periphery in a dependant situation.

In other words, ELT professionalism and anglocentricity discourse disconnects culture from structure by presenting ELT as “neutral” and non-political, thus becoming a marketable, standard product worldwide focused on a “technical approach to ELT, divorced from wider educational issues” (Phillipson, xxxx). This narrows ELT spectrum to procedural and pedagogical matters, but leaves aside social, cultural and political issues (Phillipson, xxxx), which allows ideological matters without scrutiny.

ELT Hegemony (anda a finding the path y dejate de joder)

As discussed above, the concepts of ideology and hegemony and close intertwined, being latter a constituent part of the former. Phillipson (xxxx) states that ELT hegemony can be understood as:

“referring to the implicit and explicit values associated, beliefs, purposes, and activities which characterize ELT profession and which contribute to the maintenance of English as a dominant language”

Williams (as cited in Phillipson, xxxx) also suggests that this term is more useful than ideology since the hegemonic ideas associated with ELT are just not a “deliberate manipulation” but a more sophisticated and complex set of “personal and institutional norms and experienced meanings and values.” Phillipson (xxxx) proposes that these concepts are part of the base as well as the superstructure since they arise from an economic conception of ELT based on “institutions, publishing houses, project funds, and ultimately the mode of production which these are an outcome of”, and from the “consciousness of the ELT profession” which are “intellectual manifestations” evolving from “dialectic interaction with the economic base.” Furthermore, Tsuda (2008) claims English Language Learning hegemonic position is also reflected in the threats that ELT represents to other languages causing differences between those who speak the language and those who not, the former having more resources and power than the later who is usually discriminated.

In this sense, the learning of English appears to be as commonsensical and as “the natural state of affairs” and, even more important, the “interest of a whole nation” rather than a personal choice reflecting specific interests.

ESL Teachers and textbooks

Tengo que escribir sobre los teachers y los textbooks. Garigner (lo que respecta a los concejos que da para elegir libros), + book + giroux. Es decir, tengo que explicar cual es la función del teacher en la relación con el libro.

ELT materials

Here I will comment on the publishing houses. Tengo que decir que los libros son esenciales para la reproducción de las condiciones de producción así como para la diseminación y ejercicio de la hegemonía del centro. También contenido ideológico en imágenes. Tambien hacer diferencia entre ideología y hegemonía. Después de todo estas estudiando hegemonía en estos contextos.

Influence, power and control are all legitimate and complementary interpretations

of what hegemony means and how it plays itself out in our lives. While ideology is the direction in which these are orientated.

State and ELT in Capitalist Societies. (agregar lo de Penny cook CDA acritical introduction social and cultural reproduction in schooling)

As discussed above, state plays a decisive role in reproduction of relations of production of Capitalist societies in which schools are to impart education that contributes the continuation of the modes of production by generating and distributing knowledge which is “useful and marketable” Phillipson (xxxx). In fact, it is the state the one which ensures the reproduction of knowledge and skills reproduced in schools. Therefore, being ELT organized by the state it turns to be relatively simple to scrutinize how ELT serves the three main functions of education: economic-reproductive, ideological and repressive.

The economic-reproductive function of ELT education is based on that English Language “qualifies people to build up a nation and provides people with the tools to operate the technology the English provides access to, and which the state has decided to embrace.” Hence, ELT brings a nation the possibility of becoming part of the globalization process, thus obtaining profits coming from the participation on trade, business and technology. In fact, Phillipson states that “this is what language skills, such as those specified in syllabuses, are to be used for.”

ELT ideological function within schools since, as Phillipson (xxxx) proposes, English is to bring “modern” ideas and to be “a channel for interpersonal, social and cultural values” and “a getaway for communications, better education, and so a higher standard of living and better understanding.” Language is critical in defining individual identity, culture and community membership (Phaahla, 2006) so the learning of English also contributes to the formation of particular cultural meanings thus helping to the dissemination of western ideologies “making us blind to structural realities” (Phillipson, xxxx).

The repressive function of English at school is performed when students are not allowed to apply their own language, thus limiting their communication within the classroom only to the target language. The repressive effect is more profound when English is applied for Education in subject rather than the language itself (Phillipson, xxxx)

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