Last Updated 28 Jan 2021

Political Ideologies

Category Culture, Philosophy
Essay type Research
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D. Sokolova 28/09/2011 On the topic of "Political Ideology" (Heywood 2003, p. 5) states: " ‘Ideology’ is consider a particular type of political thought, distinct from, say, political science or political philosophy. " Ideology is a set of views and ideas that provides the theoretical basis to organize and rule community life, establish values, habits and perspectives. It demands the certain methods to be used for solving different social problems. As (MacKenzie, et al. 1994, p. 1) have noted, ideology " provides both an account of existing social and political relations and blueprint of how these relation ought to be organized.

Beyond this general definition, however, the concept of ideology is notoriously difficult to get to grips with. It is loaded with a wide range of possible meanings, many of which are contradictory. " " The word ideology was coined during the French Revolution by Antoine Destutt de Tracy (1754-1836) , and was first used in public in 1796. For de Tracy, ideologue referred to a new 'science of ideas', literally an idea-ology. " (Heywood 2003, p. 6) De Tracy tried to find moral, ethic and political phenomena of basic consciousness and offer a logical explanation under one concept. For Marx and Engels 'ideology' (MacKenzie, et al. 994, p. 5) " is the role of changing historical conditions that is fundamental to the formation of ideas. " Rather, French philosopher Louis Pierre Althusser (MacKenzie, et al. 1994, p. 16) " insists upon the strict separation of ideology and science. Arguing against the traditional relationship between ideology and truth…" He affirms that " ideology is the 'cement' that binds human societies together. " An Australian political theorist Minogue have noticed, that ideologies (MacKenzie,et al. 1994, p. 4) " create the false expectation in people's minds that a perfect world is ultimately attainable. From this point of view," ideologies are seen as abstract system of thought, sets on ideas that are destined to simplify and distort social reality because they claim to explain what is, frankly, incomprehensible. " The foremost modern exponent of this view was the British political philosopher Michael Oakeshott (1901-90)" , who has issued guideline, that " Ideology is thus equated with dogmatism : fixed on doctrinaire beliefs, that are divorced from the complexities of the real world. " (Heywood 2003, p. 10) " The birth of political ideologies can be traced back to the processes thought which the modern world came into existence.

The process of modernization had social, political and cultural dimension. Socially, it was linked to the emergence of increasingly market-orientated and capitalist economies, dominated by new social classes, the middle class and the working class. Politically, it involved the replacement of monarchical absolutism by the advance of constitutional and, in due course, democratic government. Culturally, it took the form of spread of Enlightenment ideas and views, which challenged traditional beliefs in religion, politics and learning in general, based upon a commitment to the principles of reason and progress.

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The 'core' political ideologies, the ones out of which later ideologies emerged or developed in opposition to - liberalism, conservatism and socialism - reflected contrasting responses to the process of modernization. " (Heywood 2003,p. 21- 22) Main features distinguished them from each other are the following: Liberals, particularly during the Cold War period, have viewed ideology as an officially sanctioned belief system that claims a monopoly of truth, often through a spurious claim to be scientific. Ideology is therefore inherently repressive, even totalitarian.

Conservatives have traditionally regarded ideology as manifestation of the arrogance of rationalism. Ideologies are elaborate system of thought that are dangerous or unreliable because, being abstracted from reality, they establish principles and goals that lead to repression or are simply unachievable. Socialists, following Marx, have seen ideology as a body of ideas that conceal the contradictions of class society, thereby promoting false consciousness and political passivity amongst subordinate classes… Later Marxist adopted neutral concept of ideology, regarding it as the distinctive ideas of any social class, including the working class.

Fascist are often dismissive of ideology as an over-systematic, dry and intellectualized form of political understanding that is based on mere reason rather than passion and the will. The Nazis preferred to portray their own ideas as a Weltanschaung or 'world view', not as systematic philosophy. Ecologists have tended to regard al conventional political doctrines as part of super-ideology of industrialism. Ideology is thus tainted by its association with arrogant humanism and growth-orientated economics-liberalism and socialism being its most obvious examples.

Religious fundamentalists have treated key religious texts as ideology, on the grounds that, by expressing the revealed world of God, they provide a programme for comprehensive social reconstruction. (Heywood 2003, p. 15) It is recognizable, that the theory of ideology still has many different features. This view has been supported in the (Eccleshall 1984, p. 23) saying that "Ideology is the realm in which people clarify and justify their actions as they pursue divergent interests. " However, ".. there is no settle or agreed definition of the term, only a collection of rival definitions.

As David McLellan (1995) put it, 'Ideology is the most elusive concept in the whole of social science'. " (Heywood 2003, p. 5) Bibliography 1. Heywood Andrew. Political ideologies: An introduction. 3rd edition. New York: Palgrave Macmillan, 2003. 2. Eccleshall Robert, Geoghegan Vincent, Jay Richard, Kenny Michael, MacKenzie Iain and Wilford Rick. Political Ideologies: An introduction. 2nd edition. London: Routledge, 1994. 3. Eccleshall Robert, Geoghegan Vincent, Jay Richard and Rick Wilford. Political Ideologies: An Introduction Great Britain: Essex, 1984.

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