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Examining Ideological Influences

In the United States, most of us want to believe that we are unique individuals, yet we often wear the latest fashions and listen to the current hit songs as we are influenced by the media. Even our belief in "individualism" is rooted in the religious, economic, and political ideologies of this country!

In RLC 110-111, students learn to recognize the effects of common social beliefs, the influences of ideologies upon their perspectives.

Different factors that affect the beliefs of individuals

This examination, however, does not mean that "society is to blame" or "TV made me do it" because the complexity of culture is stressed. Students learn that every culture has many competing beliefs; the now popular, "dominant ideologies" are being challenged by new, "emergent" alternatives and the effects of older, "residual" beliefs are still being felt. Faced with these competing beliefs, we are more, not less, responsible for our perspectives and actions.

For two examples, go to an excerpt from a student's RLC 110 paper and a related assignment from another department.

In RLC 110-111, students learn to think critically about current beliefs and the options provided by other perspectives using historical and cultural analysis. See the RLC Glossary for definitions of "dominant, emergent, residual ideologies."