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Chapter

8. Reviewing the ‘classical’ legacy  

Left–right politics in the age of ideology

Paul Wetherly

This chapter examines the legacy of the ‘classical’ ideologies in terms of their European origins, expansion, and dominance. Classical ideologies such as liberalism, conservatism, and socialism can be understood as contrasting responses to the intellectual, social, and economic transformations known as the Enlightenment and modernization, especially industrialization and the rise of capitalism in the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries. The chapter first considers the idea that liberalism constitutes a dominant ideology before discussing the relationship between ideological principles, party politics, and statecraft. It then analyses the relationship between the classical ideologies in terms of the Enlightenment and the left–right conception of ideological debate. It also introduces the notion of ‘new’ ideologies and the extent to which the dominance of the classical ideologies can be seen in the character of the political parties that have dominated Western democracies.

Chapter

Robert Garner

This chapter examines a range of traditional ideologies associated with the Enlightenment, including liberalism, socialism, nationalism, anarchism, conservatism, and fascism. It first explains what an ideology is and what their general characteristics are before discussing liberalism, socialism, conservatism, nationalism, fascism, and anarchism. It is noted how all of these ideologies were shaped by the Enlightenment, either—in the case of liberalism, socialism, nationalism, and anarchism—adopting its key principles, or—in the case of conservatism and fascism—railing against them. The chapter suggests that each ideology must be understood within the economic, social, and political environment in which it emerged. It also emphasizes the impact of these ideologies on the development of world politics in the last two centuries.

Chapter

1. Introduction to ideology  

Contesting the nature of the ‘good society’

Paul Wetherly

This chapter explains what ideology is, why ideology is seen as a ‘contested concept’, and what roles ideology plays in politics and society. In particular, it analyses the basic conception of ideology as a system of ideas involving a vision of the good society, a critique of existing society, and a notion of political action. It examines the relationship between ideology, politics, and policy; negative perceptions of ideology prevalent in political discourse; the idea that we are all ideologists; the components or building blocks of a basic conception of ideology; and the Marxist understanding of ‘ideology’ as false or misleading ideas. The chapter also considers whether there is an independent vantage point from which to assess the claims of rival ideologies. It concludes by reflecting on the problem of relativism and the link between ideology and globalization.

Book

Edited by Paul Wetherly

Political Ideologies provides a broad-ranging introduction to both classical and contemporary political ideologies. Adopting a global outlook, it introduces readers to ideologies' increasingly global reach and the different national versions of these ideologies. Importantly, ideologies are presented as frameworks of interpretation and political commitment, encouraging readers to evaluate how ideologies work in practice, the problematic links between ideas and political action, and the impact of ideologies. Regular learning features encourage readers to think critically about ideologies, and view them as competing and contestable ways of interpreting the world. A unique ‘stop and think’ feature calls for readers to reflect on their own ideological beliefs. Topics include liberalism, conservatism, socialism and communism, anarchism, nationalism, fascism and the radical right, feminism, environmentalism, multiculturalism, religion and fundamentalism.

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This chapter examines possible futures for American foreign policy in terms of the interests and ideology of the U.S. elites (and to a lesser extent the population at large), the structures of U.S. political life, and the real or perceived national interests of the United States. It first provides an overview of the ideological roots of U.S. foreign policy before discussing key contemporary challenges for U.S. foreign policy. In particular, it considers American relations with China, how to mobilize U.S. military power for foreign policy goals, and the issue of foreign aid. The chapter proceeds by analysing the most important features of America’s future foreign policies, focusing on the Middle East, the Far East, Russia and the former Soviet Union, and Europe and the transatlantic relationship. It concludes by describing some catastrophic scenarios that could accelerate the decline of US power.

Chapter

Aristotle Kallis

This chapter examines fascism as a distinct form of ultra-nationalism, combining glorification of the nation with aggressive exclusion of those perceived as outsiders and even more enemies. It first considers the ‘era of fascism’ and the basic tenets of fascist ideology before discussing the various terminologies and classifications that have been used in order to analyse fascism and the radical right. It then explores the historical context in which fascism emerged as a radical ideology in twentieth-century Europe, seeking a ‘third way’ beyond liberalism and socialism. It also assesses fascism's overlaps with other established ideologies such as conservatism, authoritarianism, liberalism, and revolutionary socialism, along with the ensuing hybrids that it has spawned.

Chapter

Mark Langan

This chapter examines the key ideas and concepts of nationalism as ideology. It first defines nationalism and considers how the nation is socially constructed as an imagined community. It then analyses the practical implications of nationalist ideology in terms of the functioning of the nation-state (and of nationalist political parties). It also looks at the ‘rational’ form of nationalism (that is, the civic variety) and its ‘sticky’ connections to liberalism and socialism; the link between nationalism and politics; and the relationship between nationalism and globalization. The rational and somewhat pragmatic nationalism is compared with the ‘irrational’ and emotional variant found within both conservatism and fascism. The chapter concludes by highlighting key lessons regarding nationalism as ideology. Case studies relating to Scottish national identity, Brexit, Chinese nationalism, and ethnic nationalism in Russia are presented.

Chapter

Sophia Price

This chapter examines the evolution of feminism as an ideology using the analogy of ‘waves’, a term that indicates high points of debate and activism followed by more fallow periods. It first traces the historical origins of feminism from the first to the third wave and a possible fourth. It then considers whether feminism is an ideology in its own right and goes on to identify variants of feminism such as liberal feminism, separatism and political lesbianism/lesbian feminism, transfeminism, revolutionary feminism, eco-feminism, and black feminism. The chapter also explores the links between feminism and other ideological perspectives as well as the connection between the national and global dimensions of feminism and the ways in which feminist ideology has been expressed in political movements and shaped the policies of governments and international organizations. Finally, it tackles the question of whether ‘post-feminism’ has rendered feminism obsolete.

Chapter

David Bates

This chapter examines the key ideas and concepts of ‘classical’ anarchist thinkers. Among the ideas associated with anarchism are: a belief in the potential of human nature, and a corresponding critique of arbitrary authority; a refusal of state authority; a rejection of the institution of private property; militant atheism; and an emphasis on the importance of revolutionary politics. The chapter first considers how anarchist views on human nature, the state, political action, private property, and religion vary, and where possible, what unites them. It then discusses recent critical responses to anarchism, particularly ‘post-anarchism’, and specific historical examples of anarchism. It also analyses the extent to which anarchism can be regarded as a cohesive political ideology.

Chapter

John Gregson

This chapter examines the basic features of socialism and communism. Socialism is a complex ideology with numerous variants that are often strongly opposed to each other on one or more central questions or issues. Variants of socialism have converged with other classical ideologies (such as liberalism) in their beliefs and values, yet other variants have remained vehemently opposed to much within liberalism. The chapter first provides a brief historical background on socialism before discussing the key beliefs, values, and assumptions of socialism. In particular, it looks at socialism's critique of industrial capitalism and its vision of the good society, along with its its conception of human nature, community, and freedom. The chapter proceeds by considering some variants of socialism, especially communism and social democracy, as well as the overlap between socialism and other ideologies like liberalism. Finally, it assesses the historical, contemporary, and future impact of socialism.

Chapter

This chapter analyses how citizens in Europe vote across elections. Elections are an integral part of democracy as they allow citizens to shape collective decision-making. The chapter addresses the issue of trying to explain why people vote in the first place. It also looks at the inequality of turnout between citizens: why do some people just not bother to vote at all? The chapter also looks at different explanations of vote choice. This is achieved by introducing the proximity model of voting which assumes that voters and parties can be aligned on one ideological dimension. It presupposes that voters will vote for the party that most closely resembles their own ideological position. Complications can be added to this model, however, that consider the role of retrospective performance evaluations and affective attachments to social groups and political parties. The institutional context also needs to be considered, though, as this can influence voters’s decision-making.

Chapter

This chapter looks at the changing nature of ideology in Europe. It also delves into the issue of voter preference and considers how that has changed over time. It is all too often assumed that voters, as well as parties, exist along a single ideological left-to-right continuum. However, the truth is that there more deviations from this continuum than we might have in the past assumed. With the emergence of new salient issues, such as immigration, the environment and European integration, the old assumptions no longer hold true. The chapter also looks at populism, which it defines as a thin-central ideology. The final questions of this chapter are: how has populism challenged our current model of democracy? What does the future hold in this regard?

Chapter

This chapter considers a range of traditional and contemporary ideologies. Traditional ideologies are associated with the Enlightenment and have had a significant impact on the development of world politics in the last 200 years. The claims of the traditional ideologies are challenged by more contemporary ideologies; the latter should therefore be seen in the context of growing scepticism about the utility of Enlightenment ideologies. The chapter first describes the general characteristics of an ideology before discussing traditional ideologies such as liberalism, socialism, conservatism, and fascism. It also examines contemporary ideologies, namely: feminism, environmentalism, multiculturalism, and religious fundamentalism. The chapter argues that contemporary ideologies represent a challenge to the state, as seen in the greater emphasis on the supranational dimension observed, in particular, in multiculturalism, environmentalism, and religious fundamentalism.

Chapter

This chapter examines the nature of religion and fundamentalism and their relationship to politics. It first defines religion before discussing the nature and extent of religiosity worldwide. It then considers whether religion can be regarded as an ideology and goes on to assess its relationship with secular ideologies. It also explores arguments about the role of religion in politics, focusing on the secular state and ‘religious talk’ in the political sphere. Finally, it reviews the concept of fundamentalism as a form of political belief, the nature of religious fundamentalism, and the impact of movements based on religious fundamentalism in the modern world. These issues are illustrated with case studies relating to Christian (Protestant) fundamentalism, religious identity in the United Kingdom, the relationship between politics and religion in the United Kingdom vs. the United States, whether the faithful have a religious duty to get involved in politics, and Islamism.

Chapter

Paul Wetherly

This chapter examines the evolution of cultural diversity, a concept of multiculturalism, as an ideology. Aside from cultural diversity, multiculturalism has three other inter-related concepts or values: identity, community, and citizenship and equality. The chapter first considers the link between migration and cultural diversity before discussing the routes to cultural diversity within modern states, especially immigration into European societies in the period since the Second World War. It then explores the relationship between the national and global dimensions of cultural diversity as well as the attitudes of other ideological perspectives, such as liberalism, socialism, conservatism, nationalism, and feminism, to cultural diversity. It also asks whether multiculturalism is an ideology in its own right and how multiculturalist ideology has been expressed in political movements and shaped government policies. Finally, it assesses the nature of, and reasons for, the recent backlash against multiculturalism in European societies.

Chapter

Robin Redhead and Stephen Hood

This chapter explores the basic assumptions of liberal ideology. It first traces the origins of liberalism before discussing some key concepts and values of a liberal ideology such as liberty, democracy, rights, and tolerance. It then considers two of the most important, yet contrasting, strands within liberalism: economic liberalism, which supports policies of privatization and laissez-faire economics, and social liberalism, whose concern for individual freedom is coupled with a commitment to social equality. The chapter also looks at some key criticisms of liberal ideas, focusing on the liberal vision of a just society, as well as the influence of liberalism on social movements and political parties in the United Kingdom and other parts of the world. Finally, it illustrates the pervasiveness of liberalism and how it is related to other ideologies.

Chapter

Paul Wetherly

This chapter examines conceptions of human nature and ideological responses to globalization. It begins with a discussion of the two reasons for the persistence of ideological dispute regarding human nature. First, ideologies differ in their views of human nature, and these differences continue to generate competing visions of the good society consistent with this nature. Second, disagreement about the good society might be built into human nature. The chapter considers the different ideological conceptions of human nature and the implications of globalization for existing political ideologies such as liberalism, conservatism, feminism, environmentalism, multiculturalism, and religious fundamentalism. It also explores a range of arguments that suggest the possibility of resolving or ending ideological debate, asking whether it is possible to show the failure of a particular ideology, whether there can be a non-ideological way of doing politics, or whether there could there be an end of ideology.

Chapter

This chapter examines Australia’s engagement with the international politics of global climate change. It first provides an overview of the problem of global climate change and its likely effects, focusing on key complexities and dilemmas regarding climate change, and the evolution of the climate change regime through the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) process. It then considers key drivers of climate diplomacy, from the ideology and foreign policy perspectives of different governments to the role of public opinion and the ebb and flow of international cooperation. It shows that Australia’s changing approach to climate change cooperation underscores the profound challenges for the climate change regime.

Chapter

This chapter focuses on the emergence of the United States as a ‘superpower’ in 1945. It begins with a discussion of how America rose from being a group of British colonies to a continental empire containing human slavery during the period 1776–1865. It then examines how the reunification of the country after the Civil War, and the industrial revolution which followed, turned America into the world’s leading economic power by the early twentieth century. It also considers Woodrow Wilson’s empire of ideology and how the United States got involved in World War I, how the American economic system sank into depression between 1929 and 1933, and US role in the Cold War between 1933 and 1945.

Chapter

This chapter discusses what is often regarded as the central institution, not only of domestic or national political order but also of current international or global order—the state. Alongside the state, we must also consider the idea of the nation and the ideology of nationalism—perhaps the most powerful political ideology to emerge in the modern world. There is, however, another form of international political order that has actually been far more common throughout history, and that is empire. With the rise of modernity from around the beginning of the seventeenth century, we also encounter the rise of the modern state and state system in Europe along with ideas about sovereignty, citizenship, the nation-state, and democracy. The chapter then looks at the effective globalization of the European state system through modern imperialism and colonialism and the extent to which these have been productive of contemporary global order.