POLS 120 Lecture 7: Ideologies

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12 Mar 2018

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February 14, 2018
NOTETAKER: Anuja Veeraghanta
CLASS: POLS120 (Section 1: MW 11:30AM)
February 14, 2018 IDEOLOGY
Ideology as an intellectual construct:
Ideology can be thought of as a set of ideas that relate to the social and political world. It is a
story or narrative about how the political world works presently, what is wrong with is, and
how it out to work. It also usually contains some general guidelines for action i.e. hat is to
e doe
Ideologies (in the sense used here) are produced by elites. Some center on the work of a single
thinker or political leader (ex. Marx-ism), others are broad, diverse traditions (ex.
Some people draw a distinction between political philosophy (abstract, theoretical) and
ideology (practical, used by political parities for the purposes of electoral politics); others see
the two as connected, i the sese that ee these patial ideologies ae podued 
various elites, including journalists, academics, bloggers, media personalities, etc.
With the rise of mass politics during the 19th century, parties and social movements found
ideolog a useful glue fo holdig togethe diese social coalitions:
o Ideolog attes i politis eause it auses people to ae aout issues i hich they
hae o diet stake… Ba. 1999. Costutig Us
Ideology as a structured set of beliefs:
We often hear references to ideologically-defined groups ithi the geeal puli e. soial
o Are such references justified?
o Do ordinary voters think about politics in ideological terms?
If asked, most survey respondents are able to indicate their position on a liberal-conservative or
left-right scale.
o Do they know what these terms mean?
A highly influential American study* asked respondents:
o Would you say that either of the to parties is more conservative or more liberal than
the other?
If the answer was yes, the follow-up was:
o What do you hae i id he you say that the Repulias Deorats are ore
The result was that very few people gave answers that reflected understanding of these
ideological concepts.
Maybe people do not understand abstract concepts, but nonetheless have ideologically-
organized preferences on specific issues.
It is difficult to discuss ideologies in a time period that is so politically charged.
The same study asked respondents a set of questions concerning the desirability of government
action in terms of providing jobs, education and housing, as well as combating racial
discrimination. As it turned out, the correlations were very low.
The olusio: Whee a sigle [ideologial] diesio is oeed, e sustatial
potios of the puli sipl do ot elog o the diesio at all, i.e. ost people do not
think ideologically.
These fidigs eg the uestio: Wh should soe thigs go togethe ith othe thigs i the
first place? Why would we expect it to be the case?:
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