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Political Science
Political Science 1020E
Nigmendra Narain

Lecture 13: Ideology Monday, October 29, 2012 3:31 PM Ideology ©Nigmendra Narain What ideology are you? Check out this link: and take their test at Why study Ideologies?  All concepts in political science are "essentially contested concepts " : a notion around which there will never be agreement - Ideology is an essentially contested concept - Ideology results in all other concepts being essentially contested concepts  Answers Questions about "us": - How do I make sense of my world?  Order, place, identity - What are the bases of my political ideas?  Scientific, religious, etc.? o How valid are my ideas?  True/false, right/wrong? o How comprehensive are my ideas?  Global, universal, timeless? o How coherent are my ideas?  Connect, link, idea-reality  Two questions that politics is forever trying to answer: o What is to be done? ( Lenin) = agency [us?]  What are we to do? o What are the limits of the possible? (Braudel) = structures [ours?] o Each ideology gives us "answers" or "maps" to these questions  It tells us what is to be done  Political ideas are living things o 1) Rooted in particular historical circumstances : grow out of events, problems, crises of the day  French Revolution, Colonialism, 9/11 o 2) Change along with changing historical circumstances  Conservatives of 1970s vs. 1990s  They were more socialist in the past o 3) Often themselves designed to help change historical circumstances  Marxism, Reform party, China's Modernizations What’s an Ideology?  So what is an 'ideology" o Political doxa: organized political opinions o World view: the world as it is & as it should be o Abstractons: do not really exist  Onomasiological: defining or understanding a concept or idea by relating it to another  Theory: Greek theoria: act of looking at the human world reflectively  Epistemology: the study of knowledge o Episteme: "knowledge" o What can we know? o How can we know what we know?  Ontology: study of "beings" o What categories or beings tell us about the world?  Doxa: "opinion"  What is an "ideology"  Political doxa — organized political opinions  World-view: the world as it is & as it should be o Abstractions — do not really exist  4 Attributes: o 1. Social belief held by many people and passed on from generation to generation o 2. Mixture of "facts" (what is true) and "morals" (right & wrong behaviour & thought) o 3. Simplification o 4. Organized system of beliefs  4 functions: o 1. Explanation: why political, social, economic conditions are what they are. o 2. Evaluation: How to evaluate the conditions and events in the world o 3. Orientation: Tell us who we are & give us a sense of identity o 4. Political Programme: Tell us what to do History of "Ideology"  Continental European concept  Dark Ages: who had the knowledge & who gave it back to us?  Destutt de Tracy o Antoine Destutt de Tracy:  French  1754-1836  Invents the word "ideology" in 1796 o France:  French Revolution in 1790s  Violent overthrow of the monarchy and aristocratic social structure  Volatile birth site of what came to be known as liberalism, conservatism, socialism, feminism, post-colonialism  Flood of new ideas about how we should live o Tracy:  Motivated by scholarship, science, and politics  Believed some ideas were true, some were false  This fact should be supported by science to achieve political ends  Free people from the powers of kings and the Church o "Ideologie": a systematic study of the sources and origins of ideas  Basis: belief that people are born with neither knowledge nor ideas -- a blank slate *John Locke’s tabula rasa+  If ideas are the result of experience, it must be possible to discover their sources, and explain why different people have different ideas ['racists/sexists are created, not born'] o Goal: to explain why people had the ideas -- the ideology --they had o Why?  To reform and improve society  Get rid of oppressive powers o People could be taught the rig
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