PS 240 Political Theory and Ideology Fall 2008


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PS 240 Political Theory and Ideology Fall 2008

  1. 1. Political Theory and Ideologies Dr. Christopher S. Rice
  2. 2. Thinking Politically
  3. 3. 3 Types of Political Theory
  4. 4. Describes, explains and evaluates human life as it is lived in community with others, and predicts future patterns of community life
  5. 5. Empirical Theory
  6. 6. 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
  7. 7. Normative Theory
  8. 8. IS vs. OUGHT TO BE
  9. 9. Evaluative Theory
  10. 10. what IS ideology?
  11. 11. “Ideology” is the most elusive concept in the whole of social science. - David McLellan
  12. 12. Ideology ≠ “Study of” Ideas
  13. 13. Ideology tends to be used pejoratively
  14. 14. Common meanings of ideology (Andrew Haywood) • a political belief system • action-oriented set of political ideas • ideas of the ruling-class • world-view of a particular social class or social group • political ideas that embody or articulate class or social interests • ideas that propagate false consciousness amongst the exploited or oppressed • ideas that situate the individual within a social context and generate a sense of collective belonging • an officially sanctioned set of ideas used to legitimize a political system or regime • an all-embracing political doctrine that claims a monopoly on truth • an abstract and highly systematic set of political ideas
  15. 15. Criticisms of ideologies (Robert Putnam, APSR 65, Sept. 1971)
  16. 16. 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.
  17. 17. They oversimplify and thus distort reality.
  18. 18. They conceal the way the sociopolitical world really works, camouflaging who most gains and who most loses from particular practices and programs.
  19. 19. They are mere rationalizations to justify programs that people hope will work, even when there is a lack of evidence to sustain these hopes.
  20. 20. They induce people to sacrifice the present for unachievable utopian goals.
  21. 21. They promote closed and rigid thinking that is resistant to new information.
  22. 22. They are based more on emotion than reason.
  23. 23. 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”.
  24. 24. They assert a moral and political absolutism, dogmatically insisting on certain principles and behaviors and demanding conformity to their “truths”.
  25. 25. They are extremist in that they reject the established political, social and economic institutions and the stable benefits provided by these institutions.
  26. 26. Ideology is a contested term
  27. 27. Systems of interrelated beliefs about social, economic and political life.
  28. 28. 4
  29. 29. Ideology is all about delusion and “Mystification”
  30. 30. Ideology is linked to the class system
  31. 31. Ideology is a manifestation of power
  32. 32. Ideology is a temporary phenomenon
  33. 33. “False Consciousness”
  34. 34. 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
  35. 35. Human Nature + Freedom
  36. 36. Human Nature
  37. 37. Freedom
  38. 38. Positive + Negative
  39. 39. Agent Goal Obstacle
  40. 40. The Triadic Model of Freedom (from Ball and Dagger, Political Ideologies and the Democratic Ideal) B. OBSTACLE A. C. AGENT GOAL
  41. 41. IDEOLOGY AGENT(S) GOAL(S) OBSTACLES Liberalism The Individual To live his or her own way, without Laws, customs, or conditions which undue interference from others. block individual choice. Conservatism Interconnected Order, stability, harmony, Radical ideas, innovation, passions, Individuals continuity. desires, lack of restraint. Marxism The common/ Fulfillment of human needs, e.g. Class divisions, economic working people satisfying work, fair share of inequalities, unequal life chances, product. “false consciousness.” Fascism The Nation-State The power and glory of the state. Individualism, independent groups, (Italian) class divisions. Fascism The Aryan Race Racial Supremacy; “1000 Year “Inferior races,” humanitarian ideas, (Nazism) Reich.” class divisions. Feminism Women Equality of Opportunity. Legal and institutional (Liberal) discrimination. Feminism Women Power and respect for differences. Sexist beliefs, attitudes, and (Women’s stereotypes. Liberation) Gay Gay men and women Gay power, pride, and dignity. Homophobia. Liberation “Black Black People Black pride, power, and dignity. Racist beliefs and attitudes. Power” Liberation Christians Equal dignity and respect for all. Sin – i.e., oppression or indifference Theology to suffering.
  42. 42. Analyzing Ideologies
  43. 43. AUTHORITY Communism Fascism Welfare-state Neo-conservatism Liberalism LEFT RIGHT Democratic Socialism Free-market Liberalism Social Libertarianism Anarchism LIBERTY
  44. 44. Liberalism Socialism Conservatism Fascism Communism The Horseshoe Configuration
  45. 45. Liberalism Welfare-State Free-market Socialism Conservatism Communism Fascism The Pie-Shaped Spectrum
  46. 46. “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
  47. 47. Proximity Priority Permeability Proportionality