on ideology...

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on ideology...

Unread postby willow » Wed Nov 02, 2011 8:13 am

same deal 500ish words on ideology.

8. What is Ideology
Ideology is similar to a world view. It provides a system by which we can organize and interpret the events taking place around us. Ideologies unlike worldviews however contain assumptions about how people and societies should be organized and function, lending a political aspect to ideologies not necessarily present in a worldview. Specifically, ideologies try to serve 4 main explanatory functions about society.
Firstly ideologies serve to explain why society is how it is. That is to say, why social, political and economic conditions are the way they are. Secondly, they attempt to provide standards by which one can evaluate those conditions and make judgements about their success or failure. Thirdly, ideology provides a sense of identity to its members as part of a group of like minded individuals. This sense of community and like mindedness drives the formation of political parties and the organization of social groups. This aspect of ideology also helps to solidify ones conception of an individuals place in society. Finally, ideology serves to provide a means to action for those communities of like minded individuals. As they serve to explain and evaluate society, ideologies come to develop conceptions of how society should be structured, as well as how its citizens should act.
Ideology is, as a system for explaining the world in the context of a worldview, not necessarily correct, and because ideologies can be based on a number of worldviews, and can be based on illogical or irrational beliefs and misconceptions. This leads to ideologies commonly found on the fringes of society which are often considered 'conspiracy theories' like some beliefs about the Freemasons, and Illuminati.
The main source of conflict between ideologies is raised by what cognitive linguist George Lakoff refers to as 'contested concepts'. This theory rises out of the idea that there cannot be one single correct view on many concepts. There is in effect an uncontested core value which everyone tends to agree on, followed by extensions from that core, which are often open to contestation and argument. Contested concepts are concepts like freedom, equality, justice, or evil. Each concept has an accepted core idea or meaning, everyone knows what evil is for example, outside of that accepted core however, are extensions we make based on the core, we each know what evil is, but we will probably not agree on what is evil, because we each have a particular view of the larger meaning of evil. Freedom is another example, everyone has a conception of what it means to be free, we each understand the word freedom at a core level and this is what allows us to talk about 'freedom', to express the idea, to another person. However, we do not agree on what makes us free.
In many ways these contested concepts form the building blocks of ideology as you develop or adopt a system by which society and the world is explained consistent with your larger views of core values. For example every political party is 'for family' but what 'for family' means is represented differently in each party, so its not so much a question of finding a party with the right values, rather finding a party that holds your larger conception of those values. Because your extension of core values develops organically beginning early in life, it is arguable that it largely determines the adoption of ideology. However because ones extensions can be shifted by education, radical life events, religious beliefs etc, the ideology one subscribes to may change over the course of an individuals life but will always be consistent with the individuals extensions of core beliefs surrounding contested concepts.
dirty work... the right google key words...
-willow 07/22/09
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