The SAGE Key Concepts series provide students with accessible and authoritative knowledge of the essential topics in a variety of disciplines. Cross-referenced throughout, the format encourages critical evaluation through understanding. Written by experienced and respected academics, the books are indispensable study aids and guides to comprehension. Key Concepts in Journalism offers a systematic and accessible introduction to the terms, processes, and effects of journalism;a combination of practical considerations with theoretical issues; and further reading suggestions. The authors bring an enormous range of experience in newspaper and broadcast journalism, at national and regional level, as well as their teaching expertise. This book will be essential reading for students in journalism, and an invaluable reference tool for their professional careers.


An essentially contestable concept and, as such, it makes little point to describe what it ‘really’ means. Instead we should trace the history of the concept and how it is used. Ideology was coined originally by Antoine Destutt de Tracy in the years after the French Revolution to refer to ‘a new science of ideas, an idea-logy which would be the foundation of all other sciences’ (Gee, 1990:4). Destutt de Tracy argued that the ideas we hold are not the product of God or nature but are generated by our social environment as perceived through our physical senses. Hence, ideology refers in this first instance to the ‘study of how ideas are formed based on experience’ (ibid.).

Marx developed this approach to ideology, arguing that ‘the ...

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