Ideology: A Very Short Introduction
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Ideology is one of the most controversial terms in the political vocabulary, exciting both revulsion and inspiration. This book examines the reasons for those views, and explains why ideologies deserve respect as a major form of political thinking. It investigates the centrality of ideology both as a political phenomenon and as an organizing framework of political thought and action. It explores the changing understandings of ideology as a concept, and the arguments of the main ideologies. By employing the latest insights from a range of disciplines, the reader is introduced to the vitality and force of a crucial resource at the disposal of societies, through which sense and purpose is assigned to the political world.
ideological thought-practice only when put in the context of arranged marriages. Otherwise it is an ideologically unconscious practice that has to be decoded by analysts as an embodiment of the voluntary principle. We do not choose partners just because we wish to demonstrate our adherence to the principle of free choice, but it is a largely invisible instance of such choice. The upshot of all this is to see ideologies as located in concrete activities, not as ﬂoating in a stratosphere high above
thinking in dialogue with the intelligentsia, producing the kind of complex ideological positions that characterize the modern world. The reality of ideology: Louis Althusser Effectively, the repressive state apparatus was the dominating political force, but ideology developed a life of its own as the symbolic controller. The ideological state apparatuses were located in religious, legal, and cultural structures, in the mass media and the family, and especially in the educational system. One
we may derive from the study of semantics is that whoever exercises such control is in a strong position to determine the political practices that members of a society will consider, or at least be capable of imagining. Once again, that struggle over control places ideologies at the heart of the political process. Logical and cultural constraints More needs to be said about the manner in which ideologies decontest the meanings of the political concepts at their disposal. Two types of constraint,
vital to the (imagined) harmony and stability normally sought through the political process. This may give a bad name to politics, but elusiveness is not simply dissimulation, trickery, or sloppy thinking – though it may be any of these – but the harnessing of political language in order to provide one of the most valuable scarce resources of politics: public political backing. In any case, the precision of language is never guaranteed, and even strong decontestation will be open to many
that an ideology would have only ideally and irrespective of experience. Instead, these are the ineliminable key concepts that it is deemed to have in actual political usage. Liberalism contains 61 The struggle over political language The feature of priority indicates that the meaning of every political concept in an ideology, as well as of the general arguments of that ideology, is dependent on which concepts (and which conception of each concept) are allocated core signiﬁcance and which are