Althusser Ideology

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Louis Althusser and Kenneth Paul Tan had different thoughts about ideology. Althusser painted a more positive picture about the works of ideology whereas Tan depicted a bleaker aspect of it. This essay seeks to differentiate the approaches of both authors with regards to their writing on ideology and also acknowledge the similarities that they shared. While both Althusser and Tan suggested that ideology might mislead people to a state of false consciousness, the former explained that this phenomenon is unconscious whereas the latter suggested that it is imposed on the people. Althusser’s argument is that this state of false consciousness can be termed as the imaginary. We are morally born and stuck in this imaginary as an ‘always already…show more content…
Althusser’s central thesis on ideology stated that ‘ideology hails or interpellates individual as subjects’ (Ferretter, 2006). He conceptualized the Ideological State Apparatus and Repressive State Apparatus using this thesis and the focus of the interpellation of individual was attributed to enforcing law and order within the state. This worked by the greater possibility of people adhering to rules and regulations when they are being ‘hailed’ or ‘transformed into subjects’ (Ferretter, 2006). In contrast to Althusser’s focus on achieving regulation and stability, Tan made a distinction when he explained that the ‘ideological division of Singaporeans into cosmopolitans and heartlanders has been a useful means of sustaining the status quo’. (Tan, 2008) This functions in an intentional way for the government to divide the citizens to better cater to the needs of each group. Given that the cosmopolitan subjects are highly educated and forward-looking, they can be the driver of the economy by promoting Singapore on the international stage. On the other hand, the unique characteristics of the heartlander subjects also made it easier for the government to correspond their economic priorities with the needs of the citizens under this category. As these heartlanders have strong Asian values, which are more conservative and religious, the government views them as ‘keepers or protectors of national values, culture, identity and a sense of belonging’ (Tan, 2008). This categorization of its citizen helps the government to rule the country with ease, and focus on sustaining their economic accomplishments, which is of top priority to

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