UPSC SOCIOLOGY Syllabus :
Paper 1 – Chapter 6 – Politics and Society:
(a) Sociological theories of power
(b) Power elite, bureaucracy, pressure groups, and political parties.
(c) Nation, state, citizenship, democracy, civil society, ideology.
(d) Protest, agitation, social movements, collective action, revolution.
- An ideology consists of a system of views, beliefs and ideas.
- It may render support for a socio-economic formation (along with its political position and alignments) by corroborating the latter’s legitimacy in terms of some acceptable norms, cultural preferences and/or theoretical understanding of society and human living.
- Ideology is the lens through which a person views the world.
- Within the field of sociology, ideology is broadly understood to refer to the sum total of a person’s values, beliefs, assumptions, and expectations.
- Ideology is often used as a guiding light for directing actions of individuals and is also used as a unifying force for collective actions.
THINKERS AND WRITINGS ON ‘IDEOLOGIES’
- Probably, the word ‘ideology’ was first used in France by rationalist philosophers to indicate what was then understood as the philosophy of the human mind.
- The analytical emphasis on scientific social ideas had an important role in the promotion of the Enlightenment philosophies which largely contributed to the making of the French Revolution of 1789.
- Karl Mannheim (1893-1947), the German sociologist, wrote in his book Ideology and Utopia that ideologies are mental fiction used to conceal the real nature of a particular society.
- Althusser includes ideology (in addition to the economy and polity) among the main instances of history as structured social formations.
- Gramsci, offering his theory of cultural hegemony, reasoned that dominant ideology had a stronger hold on consciousness and society than Marx had imagined. Gramsci’s theory focused on the central role played by the social institution of education in spreading the dominant ideology and maintaining the power of the ruling class.
- The origin of the sociological use of the concept of ideology can be found in Marx’s writings.
- Destutt de Tracy, saw in the Ideologie a new discipline: the science of the ideas.
EXAMPLES OF IDEOLOGIES
- Rightist ideology can be defined as one end of the political ideology spectrum which is characteristically defined by the notions of nationalism, authority, hierarchy, and traditionalism. There are various categories that are utilised to define the right ideology like conservatives right- imperialists, fascists and traditionalists each displaying varying amount fright wing politics and upholding those beliefs.
- Left ideology on the other hand lies on the opposite side of the spectrum and principally is opposite to exactly what right ideology stands for. Left ideology entails the principles of freedom equality, reform, and internationalism.
- Centrist ideology falls somewhere in the middle of the spectrum. It aims to highlight the pros and the cons of both extreme ideologies and tries to define itself through moderation.
- The term ideology is often used in two different ways. In one sense, it is a set of ideas, views and beliefs which sustains an individual or a social order.
- In another sense, ideology is also interpreted as false consciousness as opposed to the real, scientific knowledge of the world. In this sense, it is used to mislead people and influence them to support the status quo.