Political Theory And Ideology


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Slideshow prepared for a series of lectures on political theory and ideologies for PS 240 Introduction to Political Theory (Fall 2007) at the University of Kentucky. Dr. Christopher S. Rice, Lecturer.

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Political Theory And Ideology

  1. 1. Political Theory and Ideologies Dr. Christopher S. Rice
  2. 2. 3 Types of Political Theory
  3. 3. Describes, explains and evaluates human life as it is lived in community with others, and predicts future patterns of community life
  4. 4. Empirical Theory
  5. 5. Advocates (and criticizes) certain ideals and values about how humans ought to live in community with others and prescribes methods for attaining (or avoiding) these ideas and values
  6. 6. Normative Theory
  7. 7. IS vs. OUGHT TO BE
  8. 8. Evaluative Theory
  9. 9. what IS ideology?
  10. 10. “ Ideology” is the most elusive concept in the whole of social science. - David McLellan
  11. 11. Ideology ≠ “Study of” Ideas
  12. 12. Ideology tends to be used pejoratively
  13. 13. Criticisms of ideologies (Robert Putnam, APSR 65, Sept. 1971)
  14. 14. They provide ideas reflecting people’s private interests rather than more universal, public interests. More specifically, ideologies are the “weapons of the ruling class” – ideas that allow the most powerful members of society to maintain their dominant status.
  15. 15. They oversimplify and thus distort reality.
  16. 16. They conceal the way the sociopolitical world really works, camouflaging who most gains and who most loses from particular practices and programs.
  17. 17. They are mere rationalizations to justify programs that people hope will work, even when there is a lack of evidence to sustain these hopes.
  18. 18. They induce people to sacrifice the present for unachievable utopian goals.
  19. 19. They promote closed and rigid thinking that is resistant to new information.
  20. 20. They are based more on emotion than reason.
  21. 21. They are based on paranoia, or irrational fears about the motivations and powers of some “evil” opponents, leading to (a) simplistic evaluations contrasting the forces of evil (“them”, the other) against the forces of good (“us”), (b) intolerance of everyone who does not believe precisely as “we” do, and (c) an unwillingness to bargain and compromise with “them”.
  22. 22. They assert a moral and political absolutism, dogmatically insisting on certain principles and behaviors and demanding conformity to their “truths”.
  23. 23. They are extremist in that they reject the established political, social and economic institutions and the stable benefits provided by these institutions.
  24. 24. Ideology is a contested term
  25. 25. Systems of interrelated beliefs about social, economic and political life.
  26. 27. Idea-ology – The “science of ideas”
  27. 28. Purpose was to further “progress” by improving people
  28. 29. Lesson: Don’t @#!$%^& with Napoleon!
  29. 31. The ideas of the ruling class are in every epoch the ruling ideas, i.e., the class which is the ruling material force of society, is at the same time its ruling intellectual force. The class which has the means of material production at its disposal, has control at the same time over the means of mental production, so that thereby, generally speaking, the ideas of those who lack the means of mental production are subject to it.
  30. 32. A set or system of ideas whose function is to justify and legitimize the rule of a dominant class in society
  31. 33. the “legal, political, religious, aesthetic or philosophic” principles which reinforce capitalist society
  32. 34. Marx didn’t believe his own ideas were ideological…
  33. 35. … they were – in de Tracy’s original sense
  34. 36. Hegelian notion of ideology as system of outlooks for a group which narrows questions that may be asked and solutions posed
  35. 38. “ False Consciousness”
  36. 40. Hegemony
  37. 41. Ideology ultimately becomes a forms of common sense, a set of ideas and beliefs not to be challenged
  38. 44. Hegemony + “Bread & Circuses” = NO DISSENT
  39. 46. Capitalist legitimation through science & technology consumerism
  40. 47. De-politicizing effect
  41. 49. Why Mannheim is important
  42. 50. Possibility that ALL social thought is ideological
  43. 51. Objectivity = Rubbish
  44. 52. Ideology as weltanscauung
  45. 53. Defining Ideology
  46. 54. a relatively coherent set of empirical and normative beliefs and thought, focusing on the problems of human nature, the process of history, and socio-political arrangements
  47. 55. Human Nature + Freedom
  48. 56. Human Nature
  49. 57. Freedom
  50. 58. Positive + Negative
  51. 59. Agent Goal Obstacle
  52. 60. The Triadic Model of Freedom (from Ball and Dagger, Political Ideologies and the Democratic Ideal ) B. OBSTACLE A. AGENT C. GOAL
  53. 61. Sin – i.e., oppression or indifference to suffering. Equal dignity and respect for all. Christians Liberation Theology Racist beliefs and attitudes. Black pride, power, and dignity. Black People “ Black Power” Homophobia. Gay power, pride, and dignity. Gay men and women Gay Liberation Sexist beliefs, attitudes, and stereotypes. Power and respect for differences. Women Feminism (Women’s Liberation) Legal and institutional discrimination. Equality of Opportunity. Women Feminism (Liberal) “ Inferior races,” humanitarian ideas, class divisions. Racial Supremacy; “1000 Year Reich.” The Aryan Race Fascism (Nazism) Individualism, independent groups, class divisions. The power and glory of the state. The Nation-State Fascism (Italian) Class divisions, economic inequalities, unequal life chances, “false consciousness.” Fulfillment of human needs, e.g. satisfying work, fair share of product. The common/ working people Marxism Radical ideas, innovation, passions, desires, lack of restraint. Order, stability, harmony, continuity. Interconnected Individuals Conservatism Laws, customs, or conditions which block individual choice. To live his or her own way, without undue interference from others. The Individual Liberalism OBSTACLES GOAL(S) AGENT(S) IDEOLOGY
  54. 62. Analyzing Ideologies
  55. 64. LEFT RIGHT LIBERTY AUTHORITY Neo-conservatism Free-market Liberalism Fascism Libertarianism Democratic Socialism Social Anarchism Welfare-state Liberalism Communism
  56. 65. Communism Socialism Liberalism Conservatism Fascism The Horseshoe Configuration
  57. 66. Liberalism Communism Fascism Socialism Conservatism Welfare-State Free-market The Pie-Shaped Spectrum
  58. 67. “ The left/right continuum…is itself ideological. It serves the purpose of bestowing a moderate or, respectively, radical or even dangerous aura on an ideology. It suggests that to move among ideologies can be a gradual process, and it indicates that ideologies are mutually exclusive and hence offer clear-cut alternatives.” - Michael Freeden
  59. 68. Proximity Priority Permeability Proportionality