Ideology and society

Duration: 45 min.

Target group: secondary school (age 16-18)

Teaching methods deployed:

Learning outcomes:
student is able to 

Goals:

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Activity 1:

Students will be divided into several groups, each of which will receive a short text. The students will be told that each of the texts is a definition and that their task is to uncover what the text defines. At the same time, they will receive three titles on separate cards – ideology, political system and economic theory – and will be tasked with matching a definition with a title.   

Definitions of ideology: 

  • a system of opinions, ideas, theories etc., in which a social group (class) expresses, perceives and justifies its economic and social status and interests. (This comes directly from a definition of Marxism – it strikes me as suitable to use it here when we will be speaking about communism)  
  • is a sophisticated system of opinions, attitudes, values and ideas with an apologist or offensive function based on the formulation of the political, financial, worldview and/or similar interests of a certain group. In political and social practice it manifests itself in, e.g., the form or philosophy, law or ethics. Generally speaking, it attempts via its own subjectivity to formulate an overall interpretation of society and mankind as such.

This question follows: 

  • What do you think the individual descriptions are referring to?

If they recognise that it is ideology, discussion is expected about the texts, ascertaining whether they have understood them adequately.

(The teacher should be aware of the subsequent necessity of spelling out once again the definition and term ideology – it is important that students have grasped sufficiently what the category of ideology represents).

Activity 2:

Students are further divided into groups. Each receives the same three visual materials. They have to analyse the photographs step by step. The students receive specific questions about each material. While working with materials, the students’ task will be to begin by describing what they see in a photo and then to delve more deeply via analysis.  

The first material consists of two maps. One depicts a street named in the past after Lenin and the second with its current name.

Questions:

  • Describe what you see on the maps?
  • Do see you see any differences on the maps?  

Note for teachers: Once the pupils in groups begin working on the questions attached to the image and after they have presented their answers put the following question to the class in a clear voice: Why do you think that streets are renamed and in what circumstances does this occur?

If any of the groups working on the questions have not included the fact that the names have changed, ask if they have noticed it or not.

The second visual material is a photograph depicting a statue of Stalin.

Students are told clearly that the picture is of a statute of Stalin.

Questions:

  • Do you see anything other than a statute of Stalin in the photograph?
  • Can you tell why there is a map on the building behind the statue of Stalin? 
  • Who do you think pushed for the construction of the statue of Stalin?

The third visual material is a photograph of a May Day parade.

Questions:

  • Can you describe what is taking place in the photograph?
  • Can you describe where the event in question is taking place?
  • Can you tell what important holiday is being celebrated in the photograph?
  • Do you think that the place in question is also used for similar purposes today?

Conclusion and discussion

On the basis of the work with visual materials the teacher can launch a discussion with the following questions:

Closing questions:

  • How did ideology and political systems influence the public space in the photographs that you have analysed?
  • How does ideology influence public space? By what methods? Who is responsible for those changes?
  • What importance does public space have in the everyday lives of the population?