An ideology is a fairly coherent and comprehensive set of ideas that explains and evaluates
social conditions, helps people understand their place in society, and provides a program for
social and political actions. Ideologies are sets of ideas that shape people’s thinking and actions
with regard to race, nationality, the role and function of government, the relations between men
and women, human responsibility for the natural environment, and many other manners.
Ideology is a reasonably consistent system of political beliefs that aspires to explain the world, to
justify certain power relationships, and to maintain or transform existing institutions.
Sir Isaiah Berlin: “…two factors that, above all others, have shaped human history…one is the
development of the natural sciences and technology…the other, without a doubt, consists in the
great ideological storms that have altered the lives of virtually all mankind”.
Examples: Russian revolution, racism, 9/11
For the 20 century, the clash of 3 political ideologies (liberalism, communism and fascism)
dominated world politics.
Political ideologies respond to changes in the world around them. Ideologies try to shape and
direct social change. Ideologies are rooted in, change with, and help change historical
An ideology performs 4 functions for the people who hold it:
1. Explanatory function: to offer an explanation of why social, political and economic
conditions are as they are, particularly in times of crisis. Different ideologies supply
different answers, b