In his "Ideology and Ideological State Apparatus," Louis Althusser summarizes his main concepts on the issues such as conditions of production, structures of society, the theory of the state, the role of individual, and the definitions and functions of ISA and RSA, ideology, education, etc. (In other words, he examines the ways in which a State exerts control over its subjects--both through ISA and RSA-- in order to reproduce its productive power.) Althusser proposes a discussion on the relationship of the State and the subjects. His view on ideology assumes that the ideology is the greatest material power, and thus expands the traditional Marxist view that sees economy as the ultimate power of the capitalist society.
I. The Reproduction of the Conditions of ProductionThe ultimate condition of production is the reproduction of conditions of production (127). In order to exist,
every social formation must reproduce:
1.) The productive forces, and 2.) The existing relations of production
A. The Forms of Reproduction:B. The Reproduction of the Relations of Production1. The reproduction of the means of production
1. The reproduction of the relations of production is secured by the exercise of State power in the RSA and the ISA.C. The relation between the superstructure and infrastructure is "in the last instance" determined by the
economic base (136).
1. Overdeterminism-an effect arise from a variety of causes which acting together rather than from a single (economic) factor.
II. Marxist Theory of the State-State power and State ApparatusA. The State is a "machine" of repression, which enables the ruling classes to ensure their domination over the
working class (137).
B. State power-State power is maintained by "repressive structure," the external force. However, the state
power might also maintain more subtly by State Apparatus.
C. State Apparatus: RSA (Repressive State Apparatus) and ISA (Ideological State Apparatus)
1. The basic difference between RSA and ISA is that RSA functions by violence whereas ISA functions byIII. Ideology-"a system of the ideas and representations (images, myths, ideas or concepts, according to the
case) which dominate the mind of a man or a social group"(158).
A. Ideology has no history (of its own). Ideology is conceived as pure illusion, and all its reality is external to it.
Ideology is a structural and must be studied synchronically.
B. Ideology is eternal since it omnipresent in its immutable form (161).
C. "Ideology is a 'Representation' of the Imaginary Relationship of Individuals to their Real Conditions of
D. Ideology has a material existence"(165).
E. There is no practice except in ideology, and there is no ideology except by subject and for subjects (170).
F. Interpellation-the trick that makes humans to see themselves as entity free.
1. "Ideology Interpellates Individuals as Subjects"(170).