An ideology is a concept that refers to the collective beliefs, attitudes, and values of a given group of people, from social cliques and small communities to an audience or an entire nation. Although ideologies can be positive, most scholars who study or critique them focus on those that cause harm or suffering. For example, in Western societies the ideology of individualism is believed to  be positive, while the ideology that promotes the  idea that men are superior to women, sexism, is believed to be negative. Consequently, sexism is studied and critiqued more heavily than individualism, although both ideologies are operative in the United States. In this respect, there is a rather long history of studying subordinate ideologies in communication studies, such as sexism and racism. Recently, however, there has been a growing interest in studying dominant ideologies such  as Whiteness (that about identity which goes unmarked and unnoticed) and masculinity.

In general, it is believed that ideologies work largely unconsciously and tend to promote the status quo, usually by supporting those individuals who are in power. Although the concept derives from the materialist theories of Karl Marx, the use of ideology is not limited to materialist contexts. Today, the notion of ideology is widely assumed and referenced in a variety of communicative  contexts.

Littlejohn, Stephen W and Karen A.Floss. (2009). Encyclopedia of Communication Theory.USA:SAGE.654

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Gayes Mahestu
Edwina Ayu Kustiawan