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Communication, Freedom and Change, Vol. 7 - 2000, No. 4

Communication and Freedom: An Althusserian Reading of Media-Government Relations

, pages: 5-16[open access]

This essay draws on the work of French philosopher Louis Althusser, particularly his contributions to the development of ideology, in an assessment of the relationship between communication and freedom. Althusser's understanding of freedom as an ideological creation not only privileges the role of ideology in the construction of social relationships, but also calls into question the complex interplay between media, society, and freedom. The current billion dollar anti-drug public service announcement deal is interrogated in an effort to illustrate how the United States government has been inserting ideologically-driven propaganda into prime time television shows with the full cooperation and approval of network executives. The anti-drug advertising deal provides an example of how freedom may be compromised as the ideological state apparatus of television places ruling class, government sanctioned ideas into the forefront of society.

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