CONCEPT OF IDEOLOGY
Ahmad Reza Taheri
This lecture (30 minutes) was presented to a group of Iranian research (PhD) scholars, university lecturers, and Iranian supreme leadership representatives, at the Department of Economics (an academic meeting), University of Pune (06 JAN 2007).
The gist of the presentation:
Although political scientists do not agree on the exact definition of the term ideology, they share some common opinions which allow us to cite the followings:
Every ideology provides an interpretation or critique of the present, and a view of ideal future. The anticipated future is usually thought to be attainable within a single generation. Each ideology includes a list of specific steps that can be taken to accomplish its goals. Every ideology is oriented toward the masses. Ideologies are simply stated and presented in motivational terms. Every ideology claims that it gives its followers the final solution, truth. Every ideology is slow and resistance to change. Ideology is a force that pushes people into social and political units. It is a filter through which one can see the world different from others. Ideology gives spirit, sense of direction, sense of identity, and meaningful life, without which life for many can turn meaningless.
In the context of political philosophy, the social and political institutions such as Socialism, Capitalism, Communism, Nationalism, Islam, and few other religions may be referred to as ideology, for they encompass the aforementioned characteristics.
How ideology is different from philosophy? Philosophy studies the origin and development of ideology. Philosophy may not push the masses into the sociopolitical units, but ideology is capable of mobilizing the masses. More importantly, it justifies the claim to power.
For more information about “ideology”, see the following source: Baradat Leon P, Political Ideologies (their origins and impact), 9th edition, Indian reprint, published by Asoke K. Gosh, pp. 1-11.