Althusser’s The Hunger Games

Iván Castañeda Screens 34 Comments

Terry Eagleton identified at least six general functions of ideology: unification, actualization, rationalization, legitimization, universalization, and naturalization. In the first The Hunger Games film we encounter various manifestations of these functions. One key carrier of legitimization of the annual Hunger Games themselves is the cluster of myth/history/tradition. As Caesar Flickerman and Game Master Seneca Crane discuss the “meaning” of the Hunger Games in the opening scene, we see how the transformative power of ideological memory can create what was once a punishment into a tradition and then a kind of healing process that “knits us all together.”

Louis Althusser formulated the perhaps more subtle but nonetheless powerful function that institutions play in the dissemination of ideology: Ideological State Apparatuses. For Althusser, conventional State Apparatuses function mainly through repression, most often through physical violence, whereas Ideological State Apparatuses function mainly through ideology. The former thus, according to Althusser, tend to belong to the public realm, the latter tend to articulate its functions through the private realm.

Examples of Ideological State Apparatuses are families, churches, schools, and unions. But do we have Ideological State Apparatuses in The Hunger Games, or is the media the Ideological State Apparatus?

This begs the question of our contemporary world where, perhaps, Ideological State Apparatuses have been homogenized into a conglomerate Ideological State Media Apparatus. It could be that by studying the manifestation of subjectivity in The Hunger Games we can analyze whether the public realm and the private have been coalesced into mass spectacle where individual fantasy and collective tradition become one and the same. What kind of mechanism of subjectivity (individual or collective) is embodied in Katniss Everdeen and Peeta Mellark? In this mise en abyme “game” does Haymitch Abernathy’s historical memory give him an advantage? And is not Effie Trinket perhaps the wisest of them all?

Taking into account the reality of various structures and systems of distribution (economies) invariably at work in any and all societies and states, what is the structure of the economies of power and violence in The Hunger Games? Moreover, given our study of ideology, what are the ideological state apparatuses in The Hunger Games and how do they operate ideologically? How does interpellation manifest itself in The Hunger Games? Are repressive state apparatuses functioning in The Hunger Games?

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  1. I believe that Katniss’ and Peeta’s subjectivity greatly affect how they perceive and navigate throughout the Hunger Games itself. Katniss takes the survival route, using her skill and instinct on the field and in the pre-chambers unlike Peeta, who knows he does not possess the same skill set as Katniss so he plays political games with the audience and his opponents. Haymitch Abernathy’s game memory gives him a huge advantage in being able to train both of them, but his historical knowledge is rendered pseudo-useless due to the fact that he has no interest in changing the political game of upper-Panem. Unless he gains some influence or becomes a well-known opinion to the others of Panem, (which is entirely possible in the way he can use his political savvy to persuade people into sponsoring Katniss) then he could possible change the policies of Panem. But the possession and preservation of that historical knowledge is crucial. I like to think of Haymitch, Trinket, and Cinne, as the three philosophical wise-men. Each having mastery over their own realm of game survival, political, and presentaiton, respectively. To each their own, I do believe that they are all equally as wise, including Affie Trinket.

    Some question I think about are: How does it compare to real world Ideological structures? And is it possible to undo and unwind all the twisting and cover-up of the transformed "honorable" Hunger Games to reveal it for what it truly is? What and who is needed to do so?

    -Gino Bretana

    1. your question: How does it compare to real world Ideological structures?

      Politically speaking, I cannot provide you an answer. Because that would be really hard for me to determine the facts from the ideologies. However, I can give you some examples of today’s social ideologies. Nowadays, we get our information through media. Such as the internet, the news, radio, and so on. However conflicted, there is a combination of truths and opinions, and it is hard to distinguish what is right from what is wrong. Anyways, one of the ideology that humans are currently trying to fix is the ideology of beauty. We are taught through magazines, advertisement, and entertainment that beauty = clear skin, eyelashes lol, slim bodies, and exaggerated body features. This is a unhealthy form of truth, because it leads to psychologically issues (such as low self esteem) for females and males. Our modern view of beauty is not natural.

      I also believe that humans are walking into the pathway of materialism. With the advanced technology being rapidly produced and sold, I have observed that there has been a competition of who has the latest and coolest gadgets. The theology that is being taught to us is to become successful to buy stuff, such as, (houses, cars, iphones, clothes…) Although it teaches us to be motivated and successful. Media has a big impact on how we view our own success. For example, reality shows (mostly shows about rich people) displays a luxurious and free life that viewers would like to have.

      I hope I answered you question. If not, I hope I made sense……hopefully.

      ~ Soriya Eath

      1. I appreciate the reply Soriya. I agree, it is hard to draw comparisons from real life ideological structures based only off of social behaviors. Perhaps in today’s society, the competition in technology has domain over people, just as fashion does in the Capital of Panem, in a sort of 1-up sense; just one example. That is a good point though, It does almost teach people to be motivated and successful, but for different reason in mind. Thanks for the answer.

        -Gino Bretana

  2. In the society of Panem, the media is the Ideological State Apparatus. Among the working districts, the people of Panem are only gathered together through media. Mainly through the broadcast of the Hunger Game Event and its procedure. However, there is no sense of a close relationship within each district. Such as an educational institution, or any other form of a constructed and social union. Although the people of Panem have their own families, there is no sense of connection.

    Katniss is displayed as the most responsible caretaker of her family. In human nature, it is the parents’ role to teach the ideologies of life to their children. Children can absorb this form of truth directly, or mainly through a slow process of implicit learning. For example, a family’s belief that one would reincarnate after they die, is a form of a specific ideology. Although, this is not a universal truth, and not everyone believes in reincarnation. The family’s ideology of life and death is passed down through many generations. An ideology is easily created through trust, and is something that tends to be outspoken repetitively. However, an ideology can either be positive or negative. Anyways, my point is. Katniss Everdeen’s mother does not seem to have any control or power over her family. There is also little communication. This disconnection within the families of Panem, allows the media/Capitol to have an easy control over the people. Overall, the Capitol uses media to educate (brainwash) the people living in Panem.

    Katniss embodies a stubborn yet strong personality. Katniss main priority in life is to keep her family safe and alive. When Katniss volunteered for her sister. She displayed a brave act of sacrifice, not just as a tribute for the Capitol, but for her sister’s wellbeing. Although she cannot successfully express herself verbally (to the Capitol’s and the media’s likings) Her actions shows who she is, and what she stands for. For example, when Katniss buried Rue in the Hunger Games, it captivated everyone’s attention (that lead them to do the three fingers hand gesture) because it displayed a sense of restored humanity. Katniss’ concept of respecting a human’s life, gained respect from viewers all throughout Panem. This act is both individualistic and collective. Rue reminded Katniss of her sister, which caused her to act as a safeguard for Rue (individualistic). However, when Katniss buried Rue and did the three fingers hand gesture, she also stood for Rue’s district (collective).

    As for Peeta Mellark, his innocent and easy-going personality allows him to win the crowd of the Capitol. However, his only experience with baking bread, leads him to have a big disadvantage when it came to partaking in the Hunger Games. In the past, Peeta once gave bread to Katniss. His act of caring and consideration, shows a collective subjectivity on how he views the importance of other people’s lives. Haymitch’s past experience gives Katniss and Peeta a higher percent chance of winning the Hunger Games. However, the location and obstacles are changed in every Hunger Game. This is a disadvantage, because the survival of Katniss and Peeta is simply based on their own decisions, and a little bit of luck. Overall, Haymitch emphasizes the importance of sponsors and how they can help Katniss and Peeta survive throughout the game. Affie Trinket is a administrator that works for the Hunger Games. Through many years of experience, I believe that Affie can be the wisest of them all. However, she chooses to hide her knowledge in disguise of her silliness. Furthermore, she has the capability to experience literally two different worlds. The Capitol and the districts. Although she is consumed by the materialistic and luxurious side of Panem. It would be a dumb idea not to, because it is an easy gateway to easy living and survival.

    ~ Soriya Eath

  3. I think the ‘knits us all together’ angle is something that only works for certain interpretations of the phrase. It’s true (because people are united by the Games) and at the same time not true (because I’m not sure anyone believes that they serve a purpose anymore aside from entertainment, even the inhabitants of The Capitol). I think the true/not true, selfless/selfish motif is the key to the whole setting. The Games still serve a purpose as an object lesson, true. The stated aim, to honor the sacrifices of the Tributes, doesn’t have the power that it did in the past. The Districts are rioting, even if it’s only in small ways, and even if those disturbances are being stopped. Panem is large enough that both viewpoints can coexist: The Games are serving their purpose AND the Games are NOT serving their purpose, the Capitol is only concerned with itself and its own power. The media is also pervasive enough to prevent both viewpoints, although obviously slanted in favor of the Capitol whenever possible. If the goal is to make The Capitol seem inviting and accessible, this is also true and not true at the same time. The Capitol is awe-inspiring, but alien. The inhabitants never want for anything, but have nothing in common with the Tributes from the Districts and the reverse is also true.

    Abernathy’s Games experience does enable him to help the new Tributes from District 12, true. He never loses the cynicism, but it does change as he watches Katniss and Peeta make their own way in the Games. Having been through the process successfully, he is in the best position to assist the new Tributes as they navigate the social and political currents that they have not prepared for and in some cases, struggle with all the way through. Effie’s wisdom is cleverness. She is part of the system but not wholly consumed by it. She despairs the the District 12 Tributes initially have no respect for their surroundings, but she comes to support them in her own way. She is not the typical Capitol citizen by more than just occupation alone. She knows the benefit of keeping the system moving, if only to accept small tragedies and injustices to prevent larger society-wide catastrophes.

  4. Regarding the question of ideological state media apparatuses in the real, contemporary world, I’m more apt to agree with Eagleton’s mention of, "oscillation." Mainly, that media is used less so for ideological indoctrination, and more so for fostering docility and apathy, creating a kind of non-meaning. However, that doesn’t mean life is devoid of significance. Rather, that citizens, the ruled class, seek meaning through other avenues outside of the state and outside of political ideology. Therefore, there is an oscillation between non-meaning and meaning in our lives, but one that still serves the politics of the ruling.

    I don’t think this is necessarily or wholly some post-modern condition either. The meaninglessness of a supermarket, for example, doesn’t necessarily serve as some monolithic quintessence of contemporary life. Rather, it is one facet, and doesn’t subtract from the meaning and purpose one could derive from running, say, a rape crisis center, to use one of Eagleton’s examples. Just because one shops at a supermarket, that in and of itself doesn’t make one a glassy eyed drone.

    -Brian Oliver

  5. When Seneca Crane talks to Ceaser in the beginning of the movie about the hunger games and its tradition, and history it uses Eagletons ideological theories about how the game knits us together. I agree that the Panem makes the people unified by having the games. By controlling the media Panem makes the games legit to the people and makes the people come together and become unified. In the Hunger games I think Panem does a good job in controlling the Ideological State apparatus by telling the people what only the government wants them to know and learn. The media is the only state apparatus there is no school, or churches, or labor unions that the people can learn the beliefs from.
    Katniss and peeta subjectivity comes from from the individual aspect. Katniss and peeta come from the outskirts of panem and are judge differently in the capital. The sponsors judge them differently because they don’t think there going to win. I think haymitchs memory helps the tributes and gets them ready for the game since he has been through the process and survived. Haymitch is not a fan of the game but watching peeta and katniss in the game his attitude changes and wants them to succeed. I think affie is the wisest of them all because she understand the hunger games and the fashion that goes behind the game for you to progress further in the game. She understands what it takes to win over the tributes and to succeed in the capital.

    -Edward Steffen

  6. First, in response to the the medium for ideological state apparatus, the media is the only one seen in The Hunger Games. The media is a primary distributor of information and is how the government in Panem communicates with its subjects. It is also a tool used to subjugate the people of the districts and keep them blind and ignorant of their surrounding districts and events of the capital, other than those of The Hunger Games and whatever the government feels suits its interest best in releasing.

    Second, while I don’t think Affie is even in the ballpark of being useless, I feel Haymitch has a more relatable connection with Katniss and is able to drive his own points home with Katniss whereas Affie wouldn’t be able to. Affie knows the in and outs of the capital, but so does Haymitch, and he has the benefit of actually having been apart of the Games and knows what to do and how to go about doing it. At the end of the day I would much prefer Haymitch in my corner than Affie.

    Lastly, the opening scene of The Hunger Games truly is powerful in how it shows the transformation behind the meaning of The Hunger Games. President Snow even makes the comment about how instead of simply executing 24 random people from the districts, they go through the excersise of the Games just to give enough hope as to not rebel and keep the districts going. To go from basically capitally executing 23 citizens to being this great honor to be able to participate in the games, and how they’re representing their district. The media, over time, managed to do a complete 180 of this and make it something to be celebrated.

  7. I believe that there is a homogenized conglomerate between Ideological Apparatus (media) and state apparatus (the capital, the game master and President Snow himself) but while both need each other to help promote the type of conditioned memory or conditioned acceptance to what the exact nature of the Hunger Games is itself, the question should also be asked as to who/what has more control i.e. which entity needs the other more in terms of legitimization, unification and promotion but especially in Eagleton’s ideological concepts of rationalization and naturalization. We all know, or should know by the end of the first movie that there is corruption both with the state apparatus of the capital and President Snow himself; Panem is a historical dystopian society. If us as viewers use our personal subjectivity and view Panem and the actual Hunger Games itself we can see the object for what it is, a brutal blood sport but also a necessary sport that can be used and manipulated (a form of acceptable violence/outlet) to give hope, but as President Snow reminds "us" "not too much hope" but then we must ask ourselves what apparatus gives the legitimization,rationalization and naturalization to those in Panem that the Hunger Games is about remembrance and hope – the media is mainly in charge of broadcasting the message of legitimacy to the districts – while the message comes from the state; the ideology of the message is the media’s to broadcast – here in lies the conglomerate of the Ideological Sate Media Apparatus posited by Dr. Castaneda above.
    -Jen Pearson

  8. Katniss is person/character throughout the first two editions of The Hunger Games films who has an individual subjectivity or at least tries to, she fights and rebels as much as she can all the while not exactly realizing that her rebellion is leading to a larger more collective subjectivity in which the people she finds in the capital as vapid and kind of dupes, become in enthralled with her and again the media contributes to her – in "Catching Fire" though she is completely uncomfortable with it, she has a new media driven moniker "Katniss – The Girl on Fire" her rebellious nature is seen as a threat to the collective subjectivity in which President Snow has crafted to keep the districts in-line and while he tries to reign her in he also recognizes the dangers in doing so because Katniss is starting to form her own separate collective subjectivity throughout the districts and the capital. Affie is probably, for me, one of the most complex characters in the first two movies – in The Hunger Games (movie one) her initial persona is one of a vapid capital’er who is more concerned with the physical appearances of Katniss and Peeta, the way they act and respond their behavior must fit into the capital norm but in Catching Fire her character evolves and you can almost since or it is my sense that in the coming films she has an important role to play; if you relate her back to theories associated with Terry Eagleton’s introduction into Ideology "ruling classes are not always self-deluded, not always dupes of their own propaganda.." while Haymitch fits into Eagleton’s theory/role of someone who is of "performative contradiction" (members of a/or a group do what they do or say that officially is accordingly loyal or appears loyal to the ruling power/party while demonstrating their indifference to it) one could argue that Haymitch’s "historical memory" as a former Games winner gives him the advantage of course of knowing how to play not just the actual Hunger Games game, but the bigger Game – the game of survival – Haymitch can see through the media and the state’s sterilization and stylistic production of the Hunger Games, the materialistic patterns and behaviors of capital life and can see the corruption for what it is and can see what the consequences are for rebellion but also the need for revolution; both which from class discussions are distinct entities with different meanings that bear different outcomes.

  9. In Panem, the most exploited ideological state apparatus is the media. In the hunger games, the media is composed of talk shows, entertainment, and sponsors. In the beginning of the hunger games movie, it is seen how the talk show is used to explain the reason of the hunger games, and Panem’s history. A huge portion of the media in the hunger games is entertainment. The citizens of the capital of Panem get together to watch the hunger games as if it was sporting event. Citizens of other districts see how horrible the hunger games really are. Finally, sponsors are also part of the media. In the movie it is emphasized greatly how having sponsors is really important to the survival of the games. With respect to the media, sponsor what to advertise the most likable tribute. In the capital, the influence of media is so strong, that citizens of the capital only care of the superficial. This serves to distract the powerful citizens from real problems.
    Furthermore, at the ideological level, the talk shows in Panem are based on celebrities like the tributes and fashion. This serves to make people believe these are the important topics to think about rather than problems in Panem. At the beginning of the hunger games, the game maker is on a talk show and he elaborates a bit about the history of Panem, the hunger games, and the honor and sacrifice behind it. This further proves how the talk shows in Panem have the legitimacy to make people believe what they portray. Thus, the talk shows work as a tool of legitimization.
    In addition, the only other form of entertainment seen so far is the actual hunger games. In the talk show with the game maker, it is explained that the hunger games is a way to pay tributes to a great war that happened in the past. It is also mentioned that the hunger games are meant to unite the country of Panem. At the ideological level, the talk show provides legitimization of what ever the person in the show is trying to convey. The message here is that the hunger games are noble and serve as reason to bring people together. This makes people rationalize the behavior of the hunger games and accept it as tradition. Also, as the rationalization of the hunger games included bringing people together, the hunger games work as a tool of unification.

    -Luis Herrera Fernandez

  10. The ideology of subjectivity given to Katniss Everdeen is very problematic as it is something new, something unusual that they have not solution. Katniss in itself is dangerous as it is kind of handing Katniss the power and she is the beacon of hope for the rebellion. This is the DICHOTOMY of the Hunger Games.
    Haymitch Abernathy’s historical memory did give him an advantage. Haymitch is a brilliant person and he’s using alcohol as a façade to hide from his pain and the rest of Panem especially the Capitol.
    Effie Trinket may not be the smartest, but she is the wisest of them all, as blocks out all the negativity, the politics, etc. and does what she does best.

  11. I believe that perhaps Ideological State Apparatuses has been homogenized into a conglomerate Ideological State Media Apparatus completely because there are no such ideological state apparatuses in the Hunger Games other than the media.
    In the Hunger Games the media is composed of talk shows, the games of course and entertainment. It is the primary source of communication between the capitol and its subjects; it is the main gate to getting the president’s message to the people of Panem. Most importantly it is an apparatus used as Surveillance, only sharing with the people of the districts and the capital what President Snow approves of.

    Subjectivity is held in the hands of President Snow in my knowledge because he has control over the whole capital and the districts. He does not give a chance for an individual to be influenced by something other than what is in his control. As of the beginning of the Hunger games Katniss is the only one who stands out with an individual subjectivity because she knows from right to wrong and accepts a challenge to fight. As for Peeta he gains his subjectivity for acknowledging that he no longer has anyone who would miss him so he fights by Katniss’s side to make sure she survives for her family. Both of the Character’s subjectivities is what gets them through the games. Individual’s fantasy’s has surely collided with tradition in the Hunger Games, because in the beginning of the film Panem’s history is shared with the audience to how the game was a means of punishment but continued as a traditional source of entertainment for the people of the capitol.

    In Haymitch Abernathy’s case, his game memory gives him a major advantage in being a great mentor to Katniss and Peeta throughout the games, but his historical knowledge is not useful because he has no interest in doing anything to prevent the games since he is not at all affected by it. I believe if Haymitch grows a strong relationship with Katniss and Peeta he can possibly take part in destroying the games and changing the political terms of Panem.

    I surely believe that Affie Trinket is as wise as a woman can be. To go with the flow of how Panem is being run and find what she loves the most (Fashion) and enjoy it without letting any negativity sink in.

    -Shamela Qazei

  12. In the Hunger Games, there is an interesting system of economies set up. The government is a totalitarian government. The control everything, including the hunger games. By everything, I mean violence, and even the people. They control violence by making the hunger games a tradition. Flickerman stated that the games has turned into a tradition. It makes sense due to the fact that people started supporting this horrific game. They control the people by forcing them into these games. Although the tributes are not the only people that they are controlling. They also control the people in the capital. When the tributes are first introduced, it is shown how the citizens in the crowd are cheering on. This supports the fact that the people are depicted as fake and how they are going with the flow because they have to. This goes back to how the people are being controlled by the government. The money system/economy is a bit different though. There is a trade set up and there is no paper money. The citizens trade food for supplies and vice versus. This shows how this system does not have support or getting any help from the government. The ideological state apparatus of Panem is definitely media. The people of Panem use media as their source of information and basically everything else. The media controls the belief system of the people of Panem as well. Since the hunger games are known as a tradition, the people feel like they have to contribute in them. This also ties back into how the government control the people. When it comes to repressive state apparatuses, I feel like there is none. There is not really a system of punishment in Panem. Even though it may seem like the hunger games are a punishment, it really is not. At first it could be said that they were because the games are the outcome of the outbreak that happened with the 13 district, but it has become more of a tradition then a consequence. In conclusion, the system of economies and the apparatus go hand to hand due to the fact that the government is totalitarian government and they control everything.

    -Nell Ashraphijuo

  13. The structure of power in Panum is a totalitarian Government. It is headed by President Snow, who reigns as the supreme authority figure. Panum is divided into 12 Districts which are under control of the Capitol, and produce goods for the Government amidst rampant oppression and poverty. The Government has designed The Hunger Games as a way to show that the rebellion was bad, and display that piece of history in a negative light, which led them to where they are today. Communications across District lines is not permitted, and information is tightly controlled and is limited to what the Capitol wants them to see or hear. A constant barrage of imagery depicting a slighted view in favor of the Government is everywhere, and symbolic or real unity of any sort is not tolerated. Even the lottery system used by the Government to select a Tribute, conveys a fair and impartial way to be selected during the Reaping. It projects a randomness that does not directly implicate the Capitol in the process. It is almost like the public coming out to vote in an election. There is no real economy that contains money for the Districts, all transactions are conducted through a barter system. This is critical because the Government wants to project that everyone is being treated the same, and there is no class separation. There is no religion evident within the people of the Districts. The religion and the god they are being brainwashed to accept is the Capitol Government under President Snow’s totalitarian rule.

    Violence is only seen at the hands of the Government, and is adopted by the children selected as Tributes for The Hunger Games. Order is maintained through violence that is carried out by an army of Peacekeepers, who are dressed in white. They will swoop in from overhead in a ship, and squash any perceived threat to order. Additionally, the Capitol uses the name Peacekeepers, to assert that if they are needed, then you must be violating the peace. The white uniforms project a well-intentioned peaceful effort. The Hunger Games is a violent exploitation of children as entertainment. Instead of committing a heinous act like killing 24 children outright, 24 are selected through the Capitol run process, and sent to participate. The children kill each other, rather than the Government. And the murderous intimidation, or act is watered down and accepted as a competition or sporting event. They have in effect, created a society that is tolerant to slavery, and violations of human rights.

    1. Good but could be more explicated through notion of economy of power and violence: too descriptive; not enough analysis specifically connected to question topics we discussed in lecture.

  14. When information is controlled, ideologies or value systems can be controlled, and eventually what is believed to be true in the memory of people can be altered. The winner of the annual Hunger Games contest, while promised a life of reward following the games, never really happens. They are used as a puppet for the Government to facilitate control over the behavior within the Districts. They appear in media snippets as a survivor, to get the people to say that if they won, and they are here, this must be okay. The Government sponsored media, projects the Government imposed ideology. It tells the people that everything is fine. The Hunger Games are touted as a way to be able to heal from what happened 75 years ago during the rebellion, and is marketed as something that knits them all together. There is a film shown before the Reaping in public, which depicts the rebellion as an ugly war. There are widows and orphans, death and destruction, and brothers fighting brothers. Then the movie speaks of peace, and likens The Hunger Games to a pageant of honor, where the victor will be bathed in riches, there will be forgiveness, and you will safeguard the future, it is about a tradition. This brainwashing technique is a way to reinforce and legitimize what is about to happen. If nobody watches, the Capitol does not have a game, so the game is shown everywhere and built up to be a fantastic event like the Olympics. Additionally, the media is used to flatter Tributes and build them up. The Tributes are being used as a state controlled vehicle to disseminate the Government sponsored ideologies. One of the media clips shows a previous Hunger Games event that took place in the ruins of District 13, where the rebellion took place. It shows the complete destruction of the city as well a Tribute being killed. They use this to reinforce what will happen if another uprising were to occur, and that the people do not want this to happen again. The people in the Districts are forced to watch The Hunger Games, and this is a form of silent intimidation.

    Children appear to play the role of the adults in this society. While the adults are off working to produce goods and services for the Capitol, children are providing, unsupervised, for themselves and their family. There is a clear absence of Mothers and Fathers. Adults are not able to provide protection for their children, and thus they are easy prey as a tactic to control the people through The Hunger Games. Katniss’ Mother is depressed and zombie like. She is a product of the children of yesterday. She has experienced The Hunger Games her whole life, and has been programmed like most of the other adults into accepting that this is just a way of life, or the way that things have to be. The people of the Districts are hungry, and on the verge of starvation. Food production is controlled by the Capitol as well, and the people are weak and tired, but at least they are alive. This breaks down their will, and facilitates the acceptance of the Government controlled killing of the people. At one point, President Snow explains to Seneca why they have just one winner, rather than execute all 24. He relates that it provides hope, and that a little hope is fine, but a lot is bad. This little bit of hope gives them promise that things could be better in the future. Because fear is stronger than hope, this is a false hope for the people of the Districts, and will only serve to continue the oppressive control that President Snow demands. Just like in real life, every aspect of the game is controlled and orchestrated to derive a particular outcome. With ideologies controlled, the Government is able to sponsor wealth inequality between the Capitol and the Districts, desensitize people to violence within their country, and exploit people using media.

    1. Good discussion but you need to be more specific about what you describe: what is ideological? What is a manifestation of ISA precisely and how does it function?

  15. The way things are distributed in every system is economy. The economies of power and violence are how power and violence are used. In The Hunger Games, the power and violence system is a clear example for a totalitarian government. In the totalitarian government, there is a leader who control everything in the country. Here is President Snow. He is the one who holds all the power and controls the whole country. He organizes the country by the Capitol in the middle and twelve districts surround. This organized way makes the Capitol become a central, in which President Snow is the most powerful one. There are several ways President Snow uses to control people. First, he makes every district work their own jobs, which provide the main income for the country. For exchange, he gives them supplies and food just enough to survive. Everyone gets pay the same, neither more nor less. This is a method to give people some hope, that one day they may get more, and nobody would complain about others that make more than them. People living in the districts do not even use paper money, they just exchange stuffs. The President keeps out a lot of trouble by this. Second, he uses the Hunger Games as another tool to control people. For people from the districts, the Games are meant to punish them for the rebellion and also remind them about the Dark day when district 13 got totally destroyed. The President want to punish people, but he does not do it directly, he does not kill all of these people. He puts them in the Games in which they have to “fight to the death", makes them fear of the death as well as his power. As he said, “Hope. It is the only thing stronger than fear. A little hope is effective. A lot of hope is dangerous,” and he is using both hope and fear to control people. For the people living in the Capitol, he uses another way, flattering them. He makes the Capitol’s people feel that they are special, that they are better than the others. They think that what they have now in the Capitol are the best, they do not care about the others living in the district. They are living their lives peacefully and they do not want any troubles. As a result, they obey President Snow. Furthermore, even President Snow is not the Game Master, he is still the one behind who give “advice”- or actually the order, about what they should do with the Games. The government also holds the control of violence. It is represented in Peacekeepers. They are the people in white uniform, the name itself sugarcoats the idea of control. They are the one keeping peace, not to fight or control people. In fact, the peacekeepers are put everywhere to monitoring the districts and to keep things under control. President Snow has everything in his hands.

  16. Ideology is what people think is true. People do not have ideas right when they were born, they get them from someone else above, someone gives them the information. Normally, people do not have the same ideologies. Ideological state apparatuses is one way to control people using ideology. In order to do that, the government wants to have only one ideology in the whole country. That is what a totalitarian government would do. In The Hunger Games, media is typical of an ideological state apparatus. It is the only way people can get information. Through the media, the government tells people what are true and what to believe, and everybody gets the same information. Instead of a bloody game, the media makes the Games become positive and entertaining. In his speech, President Snow or even Effie said, “Welcome, welcome. Happy Hunger Games.” It makes the Games as a celebration, makes people feel happy. Seneca Crane-the Games Master said, “It’s…something that knits us all together”. The Hunger Games becomes a tradition that brings people closer. They also show a movie at the Reaping, in which there are only what President Snow wants people to think that are true, that the rebellion is bad, how district 13 was destroyed, how people got hurt because of the rebellion. It makes the district people think it is a bad idea for rebelling, and they should just stay like they are now. President Snow successfully uses the media to control people’s thoughts, makes people living in the Capitol waiting for it and they welcome it happily, as well as makes people from the district forget about what the Games is actually for and accept it as it is apparent. As a result, it will reduce the possibility of rebellion from the districts. Everything is shown on the media is fake, but people would not know that. They are under control of ideological state apparatuses.
    -Lien Tran-

  17. The Hunger Games could not even be possible if it wasn’t for the inequality in power by the president Snow. A totalitarian government shows extreme success, but not without the suffering of others from the district. This government has a structure much like the one in Rome. This can be seen in the first introduction of Katniss and Peeta to the public as they ride the chariots. People are starved, and manipulated by violence through ideas, and believes of the past revolution. The economy’s power descends from the president Snow to everyone else below him. Everything is done as he commands and nothing changes unless he wants it, like the powerful emperors of the Roman Empire he wants everything to be done or changed as he commands.
    The use of technology has become a form of art in the Hunger Games. A rebellion thought to be harsh and unbearable, changed to be thought as a symbol of culture and tradition. Through the use of technological inventions that make people believe in something that was thought to be a punishment for revolting to Panem in the past. In fact that is a way to keep people controlled to do someone else’s game like the president Snow’s. An event like this, where technology is used to change the actual facts, hides the question. Why aren’t people from the Capital of Panem participating to the Hunger Games? What makes them so perfect? Obviously, not answering this questions races more and more questions, which can easily be concluded that technology plays a factor on changing the true story for the Hunger Games.

  18. The government that functions in Panem is a Totalitarian government. The idea of a Totalitarian government is a centralized government that demands complete subservience to the state. In terms of the Hunger Games, the government (Capitol) does not encourage freethinking and the exchange of ideas. They prefer everyone be dumbed down and going through the motions of their district’s work. The conditions are so poor in many districts that many people are reduced to primal instincts as their main concern is finding food. Whether they find food through bartering, selling, or an exchange for # of times name is placed in drawing for the reaping is up to them. The townspeople have nothing while it is obvious that the capitol has everything. The power distribution is entirely skewed, as there is no opportunity for voice or representatives in the districts. The total hegemony of the capitol is very evident and is often expected in a dictatorship and Totalitarian way of government. In the districts, the people ostracize any one who causes any trouble or deviance from the norm. Because of the circumstances, it is obvious that the people who are allowed to have a voice control the ideologies dispersed throughout, and as a result those are the ones who have the power. These ideologies are dispersed through ISAs and enforced through RSAs. The peacekeepers help in keeping the people contained through subtle intimidation as well as making examples of anyone who dare challenge them or the government. Again, the government works to keep people dumbed down and forgetful of their history or their actual potential to enact change. The government and President Snow especially, understand the repercussions of a rebellion. They are so pompous and greedy that if this what they have to do to keep all the power, they will. The system the government has in place seems to keep a lid on this problem well. The main ISA President Snow and the Capitol use at their expense is the Hunger Games. The Games themselves are savage and barbarian very much resembling the Roman gladiators and warriors that would perform for the entertainment of audiences. In this case, though, the games are used to distract the people and make them forget their potential as rational human beings. President Snow wants to contain an “ancient” society that is unlike that of the Capitol in anyway. This why Katniss and Peta are so taken away and never really adjust to all the amenities they are given after embarking on their journey. The Hunger Games being the main attraction every year functions by way of giving viewers hope. The audience is supposed to identify with the players in hopes that maybe their tribute will be crowned victor and thus returning riches to the district. This is all the people have to look forward to every year. They are content going about the same everyday routines as long as there is a chance at better days. The thing is the only one that can save the people is a victor from the games. Someone with credibility to say I have been there and done that. As long as the peacekeepers are in place and can “keep the peace” then the power and economic skew between the districts and the capitol will remain the same. That is until the conclusion of the 74th Hunger Games. President Snow sees a new ISA taking form; Katniss Everdeen and the Mockingjay.

  19. The Actual Hunger games are a show of power by the totalitarian government. Under the guise of an entertainment show it also acts a constant reminder to the districts of were the power resides. The government forces the districts to barter for scrapes and enforce their laws using "Peacekeepers" who use violence as opposed to more humane methods. The Economic power is held by the one on top, President Snow and his complete control over the capitol and the twelve districts. President Snow pulls these districts along a thin string called hope. He uses it to quell the voices of the people and prevent them from asking the right questions. He gives them just enough to scrape by and enough freedom for them to dream of something better. The people at the capitol dress in flamboyant outfits and make up to give the illusion of importance. Snow uses the Hunger games as a pageant to display and dress up the tributes making them similar to the people of the capitol but never the same.
    Ideological State Apparatuses has been homogenized into a conglomerate Ideological State Media Apparatus. We’ve seen no proper education institute or religion to speak of. Media largely controls what the people think is normal. Snow uses a video at the Reaping to give a brief history of the Hunger games and how necessary they are in order to heal the relationship between the capitol and the districts. Caesar acts as the public mouth of the president by building up the hunger games into a popularity contest. The president makes the hunger games out to be a celebration by announcing "welcome. Happy Hunger Games". The populace feeds on his words and crave the annual event. The game master stats how the hunger games is something that "knits them together", this instills a mentality of reliance on the games. The people need it, so it becomes a tradition. With total control of technology, Ideology becomes easier to shape.

    1. Good but please note ideology and ISA are quite more complex in their theory and practice. Note our discussion on RSA. Note article above "Althusser’s Hunger Games".

  20. In The Hunger Games, the structures of the economies of power and violence are the games themselves. The totalitarian government known as the Capitol have complete control over everything. The Twelve Districts suffer from poverty and since there is no currency the citizens would normally trade food for supplies. The Capitol is more technologically advanced than the districts and the residents live in prosperity. Every year the Capitol would select one boy and one girl from each district to participate in the annual Hunger Games, in which they are forced to kill each other in a live televised event. The purpose of the games was to not only provide entertainment for the Capitol, but to also serve as reminder to the districts how much power and control they have over them. The Games were also considered punishment towards the districts for their failed rebellion towards the Capitol that occurred several decades before the start of the series.

    Ideology means a set of beliefs of a group or an individual; not everyone shares the same ideology. In The Hunger Games, the Capitol uses the media to tell the people what is true and what to believe in; they control all the information. They want to make people believe that the Games are a time of celebration instead of a harsh reminder to the residents that they were created as a result of their uprising. At the start of the film Caesar Flickerman talks with Game master Seneca Crane about how The Hunger Games are needed to keep everyone together and how its grown into a tradition rather than just a reminder of the rebellion. Since media is the only source of information, the residents of each district will most likely believe anything that the Capitol tells them.

  21. When thinking about the economies of power and violence portrayed in the hunger games, the pyramid scheme come to mind. President Snow is clearly the head of this totalitarian government. The "peacekeepers" that work for him are in the middle of the scheme. All the way at the bottom would be the members of the 12 districts. President Snow has a brilliant way of brainwashing everyone involved. He convinces the citizens of Panem to idolize the games while completely disregarding the evil behind it. Even young children stabbing eachother with plastic swords is completely normal. Through media, entertainment, money, cars and flashy things, the ideology state appartuses easily will convince the feeble minded. He also justifies the Hunger Games by saying that the members of the district derserve this punishment for a better functioning, more "peaceful" world. That wouldnt be the case for the poor suffering districts. Each district is divided to meet every need that Panem has. There is no opportunity or growth within the districts. Their existence simply requires work. This new wolrd order leaves very little room for any rebels wating to take charge. The repressive state appartuses, the peacekeepers, outweigh the opportunity for anyone to stand up for themselves. Order is maintained through violence. Comparing this myth to todays world is actually very frightening. I see nothing but irrelevant stories on the news about things that dont really matter. Why are the important things that should be shared, hidden instead? With politics, do we ever know whats really going on? And why does our governement produce so much money, but were still in so much debt?

    1. You need to address specific question: What is the structure of the economies of power and violence in The Hunger Games (explain)? What are the ideological state apparatuses in The Hunger Games and how do they operate ideologically (explain)?

  22. Ideology is the set of beliefs by which a group or society orders reality so as to render it intelligible. In the hunger games the capitol which is their form of government, has total control and power to do as it pleases. Since their isn’t a religion or form of education and information by the control of the media the government controls its people thoughts and beliefs. As people celebrated when President Snow (ISA) or the game show host said “welcome to the 74th hunger games” then a small clips made by the government on what people should think about their history and about the rebellion they label as “Dark times” . This is also making sure of no another rebellions take place toward the government since the clip shows graphic images from district 13. This is being forced by the foot soldiers (“peace keepers” RSA ) during the reaping so everyone watches it. Since everything is altered in their media but once again the people have no idea this reshapes their ideology. Normally everyone has a different ideology but it’s changed by being under the control of ideological state apparatuses by Snow. What is economy; economic system consists of the production, distribution or trade, and consumption of limited goods and services. The people of Panum (12 districts) are very poor and have no choice but to barter for what little they have between themselves. The government rewrites their history and feeds its peoples lies through the media to control their ideology. Totalitarian government thrives but the many have to suffer for it. Their currency doesn’t come up much but they use coins (tresserae) to buy grain. Their structure is you have the capitol, where the wealthy and important people live. They have everything such as top of the line technology and they live happily; then you have your twelve districts that do the labor and the dirty work to survive. They all look the same and with their out dated clothes and harsh environment that isn’t taken care of like the capitol. They use their power and valiance through the games which only the people of the districts partake. In which the participants are forced to “fight to the death” while the whole country get together and watch it on live national televised event. This event is very important to all districts; they have citizens that dedicate their whole lives by training for this event. Since the winners district get food monthly from the Capitol. These games are set as a punishment for the “Dark times” rebellion from district 13, which was destroyed by the capitol.

  23. An economy is the process or system in which goods and services are produced, sold and bought in a country or region. Governments usually hold this power of economies and also usually abuse this power to oppress the masses in order to maintain their power. Typically this is done so by divide and conquer, which is through violence. The economy of violence in this case, is the Hunger Games. The Hunger Games is cleverly portrayed through the media and is shown as a captivating and attention grabbing widely accepted form of entertainment, just like football or boxing; however, in this case actual lives are at stake. The Hunger Games is done so in a primitive fashion, such as was done by the Romans in the Gladiator games. This economy serves the purpose of the Capitol so they can prevent another chance of an uprising. Through the form of intimidation instilled subconsciously but represented in a traditional form showing unity and hope. The Hunger Games were implemented to prevent a revolution which the capital realizes is their biggest threat. This also serves their purpose because it dumbs down the masses to overlook the potential they have if they came together to devise a plan to overthrow the Capitol. The ideological apparatus put forth here is the belief that the Capitol is doing this as a reminder to show that this is their tradition as a result to remind them of the uprising from the past decade and its consequences if another were to take place. They have the power of this economy because the Capitol has all the resources while the Districts have none. The people of the Capitol live luxuriously, are plenty wealthy, and have a structured system that can flourish; whereas the districts live in an impoverished state with little to no resources, have to struggle to find work, and have to helplessly rely on the Capitol for answers and resolutions. Therefore the ideological apparatus of the Capitol are easily being force fed to the districts, ultimately dumbing them down to neglect their own worth as a whole collective group, which explains them foolishly supporting it as the means of their only hope of something to look forward to. The victor of the Hunger Games would then bring riches and new resources to the district they are from. This is all they have to really live and hope for. The Capitol understands that this ideological apparatus is so effective because it brings everybody together with hope. They know how strong the emotion of hope is and they use it to their advantage. They maintain this by their conditioning of people to accept the games with their persuasive speeches, as if they’re there to comfort them and support them as any dictator deceptively would. The system is one sided because the districts aren’t allowed to have representatives to speak up for them. The form of government the Capitol uses to control the Districts is totalitarian, with President Snow being the dictator. Their influence is so strong on the District’s through brainwashing from the media that if someone were to attempt to spread the truth about the unfair treatment, they would be ridiculed and casted from society as a traitor. Forms of repressive state apparatuses are enforced by a martial law like state with the peacekeepers rounding up and regulating the populations all throughout the movie. When there is liberty though democracy, the people have more power than the government and police organizations or ISAs. However, that isn’t the case being that the districts are repressed by heavy enforcement and monitoring by the so called “peacekeepers”. The ideological apparatus of the raffle in which they select the tributes, is depicted as if the chosen ones are lucky and privileged when in reality, it’s actually the opposite because they’re actually sacrifices. Once selected by the raffle, regardless of consent, you are forced to fight until death in the Hunger Games. This means the people have no rights what so ever. An example of interpellation in the movie is at the very end when Katniss outsmarts the Hunger Games by almost taking her own life as well as Peeta’s with the poisonous berries. She gained control while President Snow lost it for that very moment, changing the history of the games forever, while also building up everyone’s hope.

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