Sociology Index


DOMINANT IDEOLOGY THESIS is associated with Karl Marx and his claim that each historical era is dominated by the intellectual ideas of its economically and politically ruling class. Dominant ideology means the principal ideas, values and morals in a given society. Similar to Instrumentalist Marxism. The dominant ideology thesis asserts that working-class subordination in capitalist societies is largely the outcome of the cultural dominance achieved by capitalism and the capitalist class. For Marx, the ruling ideas in a given society are always the ideas of the ruling social group. The institutions and culture of a society are widely permeated by dominant ideology which provides the key institutions and values of the society with an appearance of naturalness and inevitability. It is not claimed that there is only one ideology present within a society, or that dominant ideology is without challenge. Marx's envisages a process of class conflict in society that develops the contest between dominant ideology and the ideas or counter ideology that challenge them.

The concept of hegemony is capable of becoming a version of the dominant ideology thesis, which would bring it closer to the theories of both Louis Pierre Althusser and the Frankfurt School. - An introduction to theories of popular culture. - By Dominic Strinati

What is germane to upwards conflation, and also much more pervasive in neo-Marxism, is what has been aptly termed the 'dominant ideology thesis'. - Culture and agency: the place of culture in social theory - by Margaret Scotford Archer - 1996.

THE DOMINANT IDEOLOGY THESIS, by Nicholas Abercrombie, Stephen Hill,... Emmison Journal of Sociology.1983; 19: 158-161

The Dominant Ideology Thesis - Nicholas Abercrombie, Bryan S. Turner
British Journal of Sociology, Vol. 29, No. 2 (Jun., 1978), pp. 149-170
Abstract: A good deal of research and theory construction in the sociology of knowledge relies on the 'dominant ideology thesis'.

The Dominant Ideology Thesis suggests that there is in most societies a set of belief which dominates all others and which, through its incorporation in the consciousness of subordinate classes, tends to inhibit the development of radical political dissent. In this article we propose a number of reinterpretations of this thesis which at present systematically ignores the effect of the dominant ideology on the dominant class. There is good evidence that the subordinate classes are not incorporated into the dominant ideology and that, by contrast, the dominant classes are deeply penetrated by and incorporated within the dominant belief system. In most societies the apparatus of transmission of the dominant ideology is not very efficient and, in any event, is typically directed at the dominant rather than the subordinate class. We conclude that there is no well marked dominant ideology in the later phases of capitalism. Thus, the dominant ideology has the function of maintaining the dominant class's control over property in feudalism and early capitalism. In late capitalism, however, the changing nature of the dominant class in terms of a partial divorce between ownership and control means that the dominant ideology ceases to be crucial for the coherence of the dominant class.

The Dominant Ideology and Brazilian Tabloids: News Content in Class-Targeted Newspapers  - Frederick Schiff, Sociological Perspectives, Vol. 39, No. 1 (Spring, 1996).
Abstract: A content analysis of the press in a middle-sized city in Brazil finds that the news agenda and local scope of the tabloid dailies are oriented to the working classes. Working-class-oriented tabloids tend to be the strongest ideological supporters of capitalist legitimacy and continued elite control in the midst of rapid industrialization and newspaper competition in the provincial capital of Curitiba. More serious papers oriented toward the middle classes tend to allow for less hegemonic points of view in the period after the end of the military dictatorship. Ideology variables are shown to be empirically powerful, second only to agenda-setting in explaining run-of-the-paper news content and second only to news values in predicting the most prominent news content for all sampled papers. Stories with dominant ideological themes are played prominently in all newspapers and, in addition, are run more frequently throughout the tabloids.

WORKERS, FIRMS, AND THE DOMINANT IDEOLOGY: Hegemony and Consciousness in the Monopoly Core - Steven Peter Vallas - The Sociological Quarterly - Vol 32 Page 61 - Mar 1991 - Vol 32 Issue 1
Theorists of work and class relations have argued that organizational processes within the monopoly 'core' induce employees to identify with the firm and consent to the social relations of production. The adequacy of this 'hegemony' thesis is evaluated using data from two Bell operating companies, whose workers hold relatively high-paying primary sector jobs and are exposed to a strong corporate culture. Although these factors should favor the thesis of managerial hegemony, the data provide only limited support. In fact, an oppositional consciousness is fairly common among the workers, but with marked variations between occupational groups. The data indicate that hegemony theory inflates the role of ideological mechanisms in the reproduction of managerial control and underestimates workers' capacity to form a critical consciousness of the employment relationship.

SOCIOECONOMIC STATUS AND RACIAL GROUP INTERESTS AMONG BLACK AMERICANS -  Shelton, Jason; Wilson, George, Source: Sociological Spectrum, Volume 26, Number 2, Number 2/March-April 2006, pp. 183-204(22)
Abstract: This study assesses predictions from the dominant ideology thesis and theory of group interest concerning the relationship between socioeconomic status and racial solidarity across three domains of racial ideology. Findings from a local area sample (N = 184) in Cleveland, Ohio, provide considerable support for the theory of group interest . Racial solidarity indicators, such as the perception of discrimination, transcend individual socioeconomic status in constructing a group-based racial viewpoint. Conversely, traditional measures of class position, such as income and education, fail to induce attitudinal variation across the analyzed domains, namely causal attributions, racial politics, and attitudes toward interracial intimacy. In fact, the subjective social class measure, occupational prestige, tends to promote differences favorable to racial solidarity.

Cultural Domination and the Reaction to It - Janusz Mucha
Instytut socjologii universytetu Mikolaja Kopernika, Torun
The text is not about the debate on the cultural domination or a criticism of theories of domination, nor is it a dialogue with them. Its aim is to present various approaches, aspects, dimensions and theoretical contexts of cultural domination and reactions to it. The following issues are discussed in the article: ethnic domination and its mechanisms; global approach to cultural domination and the center/periphery debate; debates on the repressive culture of rationality of the Frankfurt School, postmodernism and post-structuralism; debate on economic, political and ideological domination, including the “dominant ideology thesis” and Pierre Bourdieu’s structuralism.