The things we choose to call ideologies

The Muslim Literati

People are not always conscious of the ideologies that affect them. Or, to put it another way, they are not always conscious that the ideas are ideologies, and just assume them to be the way things obviously are… Ideology works best by disappearing, so that people simply take their ideological assumptions for granted as the only, whole, and unquestionable truth. As Althusser says, ”Those who are in ideology believe themselves by definition outside ideology” (246).

If Althusser is right, then his theory may explain why people often accuse those they disagree with about political or moral issues of being controlled by ideology while they see the positions they adopt themselves as merely expressions of common sense. From this point of view, ideology is what others with different views believe, while what people believe themselves is the way things actually are. They are blind to their own ideology.

– Perry Nodelman

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