From ArticleWorld

Ideology signifies a collection of ideas and it has been used for the first time by Count Destutt de Tracy in the late 18th century to define a science of ideas. Typically they offer a unified view and approach towards each and every issue concerning a society.


History of the concept Napoleon Bonaparte used the word “ideologues” to ridicule his intellectual opponents, but then it became a neutral term in the analysis of differing political opinions. Studying the history of this word David W Minar found six ways in which it has been used:

  1. as a collection of certain ideas, usually with normative content; #as the form that ideas have within a set;
  2. by the role ideas play in human society
  3. by the role they play in the structure of an organization;
  4. as meaning, having as purpose persuasion;
  5. as locus of social interaction.

Though the word “ideology” is most often found in political discourse, there are many different kinds of ideology: political, social, epistemological, ethical and so on.

Ideology: instrument of social reproduction

Karl Marx developed a base/superstructure model of society. The base refers to the means of production; the superstructure comprises that society’s ideology. Marx thinks that the base determines the superstructure. Because the ruling class controls the society’s means of production, the superstructure will be established by the interests of this class. That is why german philosopher suggested the rebellion of the working class and the creation of a new type of society (socialism and then communism, replacing capitalism). In capitalism, the dominant forms of ideology are:

  • Classical liberalism
  • Social democracy
  • Neo-liberalism

Other dominant form of capitalist ideology is social darwinism. The Marxist view had an important role in the evolution of the sociology of knowledge (represented by Karl Mannheim, Daniel Bell and Jurgen Habermas). Political ideologies regards economy, education, criminal law, minors, environment, immigration, race, forced nationalism, forced religion.

List of political ideologies

  • emphasizing class struggle: anarchism, socialism, communism, marxism
  • emphasizing the individual: anarchism, liberalism, libertarianism
  • emphasizing the collective: socialism, social democracy, communitarianism, populism