Unit description

Introduces students to the concept of ideology. It investigates the role of law in legitimising the ideology of western liberalism and global capitalism. Theories and thinkers are introduced and examined. The use of contemporary film to maintain capitalist ideology is explored.

Unit content

Topic 1 Introduction to historical materialism and class instrumentalism

Base and Superstructure, Role of Law in Marxist theory, law’s coercive and ideological role; Marx on The Factory Acts

Topic 2 Antonio Gramsci, Cultural Hegemony and Louis Althusser Repressive and Ideological state apparatuses: “Ideology has very little to do with consciousness. It is profoundly unconscious.” Introduction to the Subject of the Unconscious; Hitchcock, Psycho, 1960

Topic 3 Slavoj Zizek:

(a) we are far from post-ideological

(b) culture as displaced belief

(c) culture as today’s foremost ideological battleground

The Pervert’s Guide to Cinema, 2006

The Pervert’s Guide to Ideology, 2013

Topic 4 Illustrations

They Live, John Carpenter, 1988

Argo, Ben Affleck, 2012

Zero Dark Thirty, Kathryn Bigelow, 2013

Twelve Years a Slave, Steve McQueen, 2013

American Sniper, Clint Eastwood, 2014

Learning outcomes

Unit Learning Outcomes express learning achievement in terms of what a student should know, understand and be able to do on completion of a unit. These outcomes are aligned with the graduate attributes. The unit learning outcomes and graduate attributes are also the basis of evaluating prior learning.

Learning outcomes and graduate attributes

Teaching and assessment


Intensive offerings may or may not be scheduled in every session. Please refer to the timetable for further details.

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Fee information


Commonwealth Supported courses
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Commencing 2017 Commonwealth Supported only. Student contribution band: 3

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