Ideology in the System of Culture Essay

Ideology in a System of Culture

Nowadays, the clarification of ideology’s interrelation and culture is the actual problem that follows from requirements of social practice, because it allows people to better understand an essence of ideology and ideological interaction in the modern world. The culture and ideology are usually considered in itself and, most often, from positions of different sciences (for example, philosophy, political science, history), but, practically, there are no literary works in which these two social phenomena are considered in their connection.

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The Ideology

The ideology is represented as the major social phenomenon. In the modern situation, which is characterized by lack of clear and accurate national aims consolidating society, the question of creating new ideology gets a great value. The solution of the problem of interaction of culture and ideology allows establishing their role in the development of society that, in turn, clears up the key aspects of modern social practice. Despite the existence among researchers of a certain initial consent of basic essence of ideology, there are also serious divergences concerning the main characteristics of the studied phenomenon. The most productive approach, urged to remove partially above-mentioned contradictions, is cultural and ideological approach. According to cultural and ideological interpretation, the ideology represents a product of the certain symbolical activity that is understood as actions for sign designing of social reality. Ideologies, thus, supply individuals, social groups and the society in general with the specific cultural symbols, setting structure and dynamics of social action.

Though the term “ideology” as the doctrine about ideas arose at the end of XVIII — the beginning of the XX century; with a current of time, the term “ideology” found new sense, together with the set of ideas about society, its various components, its past, real and future; their assessment from positions of various social associations began to be designated. The significant contribution to judgment of a problem of ideology was made by classics of Marxism. The critical analysis of treatments of ideology existing in foreign and American literature allows to allocate the major importance of this concept. The ideology is treated as: 1) the doctrine about ideas; 2) a frame of reference, ideas in which the attitude of people towards reality, towards all real is realized and estimated; 3) a frame of reference and ideas in which in a theoretical form the relation of people to their real life, social being, culture is realized and estimated, interests of various social associations (classes, nations, etc.) are expressed and protected, the welfare purposes and ways, ways of their achievement are designated; 4) the false, illusory, torn-off from reality and expressed in a theoretical form consciousness.

The Ideology of Afro-Americans

Afro-centrism is a racial ideology of self-affirmation of people with black skin color. It is directed on fight against euro centrism in various spheres of public consciousness: science, philosophy, religion, art and behavior. The purpose consists in rehabilitation of black people and a self-identification, racial features, idea of an exclusive role of Afro-Americans in world history. It is formulated in the head of the 1980th in the environment of the Afro-American intellectuals (Howe, 1998). The Pan-African ideas about historical and cultural and racial unity, the African originality and exclusiveness began to develop in the second half of 19 century in America where there was an active fight against slavery (abolitionism), racial discrimination, for equality of black population.

These ideas became a certain response of Africans to oppressions from "white", trying to impose them the religion and culture, language, a way of life and style of thinking. With growth of racial consciousness there was an aspiration to overcome the complex of inferiority that was created as a result of education and other forms and methods of social and mental processing (Hamlet, 1998). In order to start getting rid of these prejudices, efforts of many Afro-American and African intellectuals who anticipated emergence of Afro-centrism were required. 

Afro-centrists offer an idea of cultural unity. According to them, two cultural zones of mankind (African and European) are opposed by different public ways, racial and mental lines of their inhabitants. Former opposition "the West – the East" is replaced by the new one – "The North – the South". The African zone is a kingdom of matriarchy, social equality and collectivism. All this promotes, in their opinion, harmony and unity of society. Lack of contradictions led to domination in this zone of the social world and to preservation of the major features of society during the history of mankind. Thus, many features which remained in the African societies from an extreme antiquity do  not the testimony of backwardness that were believed by many European scientists, and a consequence of a special harmony of development. The European zone is based on patriarchy and differs in violence, individualism and disharmony. Development of a civilization in other regions of the world is defined by fight of these two zones. The Western world has to be arrived to original ideas of Africa as if the West preaches materialism, and the East, first of all India – spirituality, Africa combines material with spiritual.

The Ideology and Culture

The ideology can be defined as the interconnected system of ideas and ideas of a public ideal, ways of development of social system, group (class) interests, the nature, society and the person (class), existing at the level of the theoretical and ordinary consciousness of the subject of the historical action, taking a certain place in system of division of labor and possessing a certain share of wealth (Bell, 1998). It is the integral element of system of culture which makes the defining impact on other elements of culture, including philosophy, religion, science, art, morals, and law.

Research of communication of ideology and culture assumes the analysis of culture on the basis of system approach, clarification of its structure and elements. The first attempts of articulation of elements of culture were made by Herder and Kant in the XVIII century (Balkin, 1998). The majority of the western researchers do not consider culture as a system. They usually speak about the complex of cultural elements. The first principles of system approach to culture were applied by classics of Marxism. System approach to the analysis of culture gained the greatest development in the Soviet philosophical, cultural and ideological literature (Cassirer, 1956). The variety of approaches to understanding culture and to its structuring is defined not only by its complexity, but also unequal understanding of culture’s essence. The development of scientific knowledge, allows to approach culture and its structure from the different parties, highlighting new sides. Articulations of those aspects are the parties of culture, represented by the most significant for the solution of specific scientific objectives. Dynamics of culture and emergence of new elements enrich structure and communications in system. Proceeding from those positive aspects that were saved up in philosophical literature for the last decades, it is possible to claim that elements of modern culture are science, philosophy, religion, ideology, art, morals and law. The culture, as a special phenomenon, carries out a number of functions: ideological, standard, communication, adaptive, etc. However, the culture represents historically changing system of human activities for production of cultural and material values and its results.

The analysis of a problem of a ratio of ideology and religion as elements of culture leads to a conclusion that culture did not receive sufficient development in literature. It was necessary to overcome extremes in understanding religion when it is defined either as an ideology or as an outlook. The ideology is one of elements of the developed religions, part of the social doctrine (Christianity, Islam). Communication of ideology and religion is expressed in a fact that the secular ideology can borrow some religious ideas. However, the deepest source of ideologies is real life of people, which receives unequal interpretation in religions and secular ideologies.

The Ideology and Art

Art is one of the forms of public consciousness, component of spiritual culture of mankind, specific sort of practical and spiritual development of the world. In this context, art carry group of kinds of human activities to art - painting, music, theater, fiction united because they are specific - art and figurative - forms of reproduction of reality. In wider value, the word “art” is carried to any form of practical activities, when it is made skillfully not only in technological, but also in an esthetic sense. The interrelation of ideology and art is expressed that art is influenced by considerable and the even defining influence of ideology. In turn, art promotes introduction of ideas in the consciousness of people (Eagleton, 1991). Influence of ideology on art and culture, in general, cannot be estimated only as negative, it can be and positive, as well as influence of culture on ideology is also ambiguous. Their interaction depends on specific historical conditions. 

Art is one of the integral components of culture. It arose at the beginning of development of a civilization, but now art enters into a difficult interaction with philosophy and science, morals and religion, policy and ideology. The esthetic sphere of public life can be considered as one of the supreme human values and as object and means of political struggle. Expressing requirements of social development, and art constantly draws attention of all social forces — the states, classes, parties, the religious organizations, etc. which are interested in distribution of the influence on people. Art also reflects a process of historical development of mankind and helps society to find ways and prospects of its movement to freedom, and worthy forms of social life. Art is reduced to goods level and submits to laws of the market relations. It is divided on, so-called, elite and mass. Thus, consideration of a problem of interaction of art and ideology in modern cultural space is of special interest.

Art, as a component of modern multicultural space, provides centuries-old continuity of culture, its increasing universality. Creating the valid ideas and images, growing to symbols, common to all mankind, it expresses sense of all historical development. Thus, interfering in a philosophical perspective, art raises cardinal life problems. Along with science, art is the necessary, historically approved and constantly interacting form of public consciousness, and a learning tool of reality; art also impacts people’s lives and changes people. The unity of the ethical and esthetic symbolizes indissoluble unity of art and morals as the highest, along with science and philosophy, cultural wealth. Approving moral standards, art uses special means and receptions. 

Considering art and its place in system of cultural wealth, it is impossible to abstract from influence of ideology. Art, as well as ideology, not only reflect reality, but also make an impact that is present at some functions of art which are similar to problems of ideology. Art creativity will transform reality through ideological and esthetic impact on people, inclusion of the person in value-oriented activity (Balkin, 1998). Art, as well as ideology, possesses consolatory and compensatory function and is called illusory to restore in the sphere of spirit the harmony that is lost in reality. Moreover, it is a mean of education. At the same time, art is not an illustration of political ideas: the artist processes own impressions of life, creating the art concept. In art, there is always an ability to anticipate the future (Linton, 1945). The artist is capable to foresee the future that is shown in the fantastic, utopian, socially predicting works (this aspect is similar to ideology). Its modern semiotics consideration, as sign system, is based on communicativeness of art; thereby, it increases the spiritual potential and a community of mankind (similarity to integrative function of ideology). Art is a suggestion of a certain system of thoughts and feelings, almost hypnotic impact on sub consciousness and on human mentality. Suggestive function during the intense periods of history bears ideological loading.  

Being the decisive force of impact on art culture in general, directly defining its destinies, ways and the principles of development in works of writers, artists and composers the political ideology is sometimes shown in difficult mediated and externally veiled forms. The political and legal ideology is included in art: through the subject elected by the artist, through an ideological position, through difficult system of the esthetic estimates, which are directly perceived by public. Ability of an art to grab and express human ideas and aspirations, to participate in fight of ideas and opinions often defines the main tendencies of its development. So, on the example of musical art, it is possible to track history of its relationship with ideology. In works of Ancient Greek philosophers – Plato and Aristotle, in treatises of Confucius’ pupils, mention of close connection between music and a political system can be met, as well as ideology of the state (Plato, 2003).

In Ancient China, music acted as a basis of the state ideology and its quality is the main indicator of a state of affairs in the country, and the simplest and effective remedy of education at the simple people of respect for the government of the country. In Ancient Greece, it was considered that music is best to influence soul, forming a throughway of the person, cultivating in patriotism and devotion to the business. Plato in the treatise “State” explained the need to regulate musical education of “guards” (Plato, 2003). When in the Middle Ages all culture of society was shared on religious and secular, the person could follow only two ways: to respect certain religious dogmas and the rules, creating the works according to the settled tradition; or to become the founder of own style or a genre, that is to devote itself to secular culture. During the era of the Renaissance and Education in art, there was a jump in political thought: in particular, the concept of natural human rights locates, mass and elite art arises, music promptly loses the special ideological role in education of public culture and it became only a part of art (Mowat, 1991).

This tendency remains urgent after all the modern democratic states do not define a framework for mass musical culture, and musical education is considered only one of many means of socialization. There is a feeling that musical art today in the majority of the countries free from political influence exists separately from ideology of the state, being only occasionally crossed with it. Thus, music always seeks to satisfy requirements of society, opposing to traditional culture of the country.  

At the same time, it would be wrong to believe that interaction of policy and art can be only unilateral. It should be noted that the policy got practically for a long time into all spheres of public life, including esthetic. Furthermore, it became their organizing mechanism. Nowadays, people use all available means and mechanisms, including esthetic which, owing to the specifics, have essential impact on society, form perception of the social world for implementation of policy. Due to the fact that in the modern world, politics affects practically each person, art area also becomes a field, object and even subject of political struggle.

The ideological systems incorporating political, moral and other installations of each society quite often seek for suppression of freedom of art, as well as for its politicization. It is natural that the semantic aspect of works of art is simply identified with the certain logically ordered system of political ideas that leads to oblivion of specifics of actually art thinking. As a result of ideological dictatorship, the so-called mass culture in which esthetic indicators are so lowered blossoms that any distinction between already pseudo-art and the ideology actually disappears. In turn, degradation of art culture, in bringing down to a product of consumption causes aspiration to art elitism, nostalgia on art of the past.

Social development, however, forms a steady type of vision of the social world and a place of the person in it, characteristic both for official ideology, and for an art culture. This similarity generates their interdependence. In modern post-modernist theories, possibility of such association of political forces, official ideology, art and science at which the objective perception can be replaced with society of surrounding reality with the installed frame of reference, ideas, images.

This or that type of ideology is defined by culture type. Emergence and functioning of several ideologies is based on one national culture that is connected with social heterogeneity of society, and an existence of various social associations with specific interests. As the culture is in continuous change and development, the ideology, which is based upon its values, has to be improved. Otherwise, it turns into meeting the dogmas which are not corresponding to vital realities and loses influence on consciousness and behavior of people. In addition, another extreme is also undesirable — the creation of impracticable projects, inclusion in an ideological design of utopian ideas. Their unfeasibility can cause deep disappointment in ideology, in general.

As the ideology is directly connected with culture, the judgment and an assessment in it social reality, its past, the present and the future, aspiration of ideologists to answer calls of time is an essential contribution to culture. Seizing minds of many people, the ideology finds the material force which action provides development and high-quality changes in culture. However, the ideological doctrine becomes the mobilizing force only when the declared world of values coincides with basic values of the culture, created by a certain ethnos.

Any national state, which possess the developed national culture, develops the state ideology in which act as Basic Elements: idea of destiny and mission of this nation; about a vector of historical development; about a share of the public wealth getting to various social groups; about a political, economic, esthetic and moral ideal; about a contribution of this nation to a cultural treasury of mankind; about a ratio of elite, national and mass cultures; about an assessment of the available historical experience; about tactical targets and tasks which should be solved in the near-term and medium-term outlook; about the leading subject of historical process (Goodheart, 1997). Emergence of new social reality, emergence of new type of culture — culture of information society generates the crisis phenomena in cultures of all countries, belonging to an area of the western or Atlantic civilization. Crisis which endures modern ideologies is a consequence of cultural crisis of the West European, or Atlantic civilizations.

In addition, the analysis of interrelation of ideology and science shows that the science influences ideology because authors of ideological concepts borrow some scientific ideas, consider influence of discoveries on outlook of people. However, the ideology influences science (Gray, 1993). The unambiguous assessment of any ideology, which is quite often found in literature as illusory, false consciousness is not represented properly because such ideology could not have essential impact on consciousness and behavior of people during a long time. In each ideology, there is a truth grain, though it can be interpreted differently. At an assessment of ideology, its communication with science concrete historical approach is necessary.

All in all, the analysis of interrelation of various ideologies and culture allows claiming that any ideology can carry out the positive function when it relies on culture values. Otherwise, it does not get social support and falls into oblivion. Thus, real life of art proceeds in this or that system of art culture. Historical development of art reflects an influence of a complex combination of external impulses in its ideological and thinnest social and psychological manifestations. At the same time art development of humanity possesses also relative independence, is inconsistent interacting with its social determinacy. Value of the esthetic sphere also increases during the periods of crises and transformations when preservation of identity and a survival of society are threatened by danger. Art's major purpose is social influence. Social functions of art and ideology are in many respects crossed, this similarity is shown in creation of the supreme social values.


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