Ideology, what is that? There are hundred answers and none of them is right or wrong. Most of ideology definitions are not compatible with each other, but I have found one that I like the most: An ideology is a set of ideas that constitute one’s goals, expectations, and actions. An ideology is a comprehensive vision, a way of looking at things as in several philosophical tendencies, or a set of ideas proposed by the dominant class of a society to all members of this society. Ideologies are systems of abstract thought applied to public matters and thus make this concept central to politics.
Implicitly every political or economic tendency entails an ideology whether or not it is propounded as an explicit system of thought. 1 So ideology is a system of conceptualized views and ides, expressing the interests of different social classes, groups and societies, to evaluate relationships between people and reality, as well as authorized on a community form of domination and power (conservative ideology) or settle their transformation (radical, revolutionary ideology). It`s not a science, but it includes scientific knowledge of social and politic life, as well as assessing it.
Good example of bad ideology was Nazi in Germany, when Hitler wanted to “clean” the Aryan race from “sub-human” – Jews, Gypsies, homosexuals and handicapped people who were at the bottom of racial hierarchy by Nazi studies. Now let`s move on discourse. What is that? Discourse is the term that describes written and spoken communications; the “language in the language,” a certain vocabulary, semantics, pragmatics and syntax, manifesting itself in actual communicative acts, speeches and texts. “Discourse constitutes the social.
Three dimensions of the social are distinguished – knowledge, social relations, and social identity – and these correspond respectively to three major functions of language … Discourse is shaped by relations of power, and invested ideologies. ” (Fairclough 1992:8). 2 Example: Discourses are seen to affect our views on all things; it is not possible to avoid discourse. For example, two notably distinct discourses can be used about various guerrilla movements describing them either as “freedom fighters” or “terrorists”.
In other words, the chosen discourse provides the vocabulary, expressions and perhaps also the style needed to communicate. 3 So how ideology and discourse works together? Actually they both are inextricably connected to each other, because both are elements of human thoughts and communication. Some people say that ideology affect discourse, other say that discourse is used as a way to deliver an ideology. 4
It`s very important to remember that when analyzing media texts, because the interpretation of the text will depend on person who wrote it and his opinion on the subject and the person who is reading it. For example some political articles in newspapers in the UK have political alignments, some support Labours, some support Democrats. So when one of the parties wants to write a press release or something their ideological discourse will be organized by a general strategy of positive self-presentation (boasting) and negative other-presentation (derogation).
This strategy may operate at all levels, generally in such a way that our good things are emphasized and our bad things de-emphasized, and the opposite for the Others—whose bad things will be enhanced, and whose good things will be mitigated, hidden or forgotten.