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13. Karl Marx  

Simon Choat

This chapter focuses on the works of Karl Marx from 1845 onwards, because it is in those works that the theories and concepts for which he is best known were developed. It begins by explaining Marx’s materialist conception of history, mainly through the manuscripts published posthumously as The German Ideology (originally co-authored 1845–1846 with Friedrich Engels) and the 1859 ‘Preface’. The chapter explores some of Marx’s main concepts, including mode of production, class struggle, and ideology. The chapter then turns to Marx’s critical analysis of the capitalist mode of production, especially as found in the Communist Manifesto (1848, with Engels) and Capital Volume One (1867). Finally, it examines Marx’s views on the state and contrasts them with those of his anarchist contemporaries. While acknowledging Marx’s weaknesses, especially with respect to the analysis of race and gender, the chapter defends his continuing relevance.

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31. W.E.B. Du Bois  

Elvira Basevich

This chapter discusses W.E.B. Du Bois’s political thought and strategies for political advocacy which primarily focus on the politics of race, colonialism, gender, and labour. It also explains the key concepts in Du Bois’s criticism of how the white supremacist ideology shaped modern societies to create the colour line and to exclude members of vulnerable groups. These concepts include the doctrine of racialism, double consciousness, and Pan-Africanism. The chapter recognizes Du Bois’s contributions to Black feminist thought and American labour politics, which inspired major social justice movements in the twentieth century. Thus, Du Bois’s political thought shored up the contradictions in the liberal principles of freedom and equality for all.

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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.

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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.

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11. Multiculturalism  

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.

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12. Religion, politics, and fundamentalism  

Paul Wetherly

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.

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13. Beyond ideology?  

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.

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2. Liberalism  

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.

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4. Socialism and communism  

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.

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5. Anarchism  

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.

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6. Nationalism  

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.

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7. Fascism and the radical right  

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.

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9. Feminism  

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.

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27. Marx and Engels  

Paul Thomas

This chapter examines Karl Marx's relationship to Friedrich Engels and their joint works of the 1840s, along with those works each of them published separately. Marx is regarded as Engels regarded him; that is, as the more important of the two, both as a theorist and political activist in the First International. The chapter begins with a discussion of the Manifesto of the Communist Party, with particular emphasis on Marx and Engels's views on ideology. It then considers Marx's critique of political economy; his concepts of use value, exchange value, and surplus value; and the ‘fetishism of commodities’ as discussed in the first volume of Capital. It also explores Marx's insights about Western European history and his theory of the state before concluding with an overview of Engels's contribution to Marxism.

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10. Environmentalism  

Dorron Otter

This chapter examines the extent to which environmentalism has emerged as a viable ideology in its own right. It begins by charting the origins of the rise of the environment as an issue in relation to global and national political systems as well as the point at which it might be possible to identify the emergence of a distinct Green agenda. It then analyses the range of environmental thinking and the embedded critique, ideal, and programme that defines Green ideology, with particular emphasis on classical liberalism and neo-liberalism, Green conservatism, eco-socialism, social ecology, and eco-feminism. It also explores the impact that Green policies have had in shaping the policy agenda and concludes by looking at the main challenges that face the consolidation of Green thinking and action. To illustrate these various issues, the chapter presents case studies, one of which relates to global climate change.

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3. Conservatism  

Mark Garnett

This chapter examines the basic features of conservative ideology, with particular emphasis on its strongly contested nature. It begins with a discussion of two major issues: whether conservatism is distinctive ideology and whether the core ideas of conservatism have changed over time. It then shows how conservatism differs from varieties of liberalism and goes on to explore ‘conservatism’ in the United States, along with some apparent manifestations of conservatism in political parties and movements outside the United Kingdom. Finally, it looks at the relationship between conservatism and religion. Case studies on the ideas of Edmund Burke, Winston Churchill, Barry Goldwater, and Friedrich von Hayek are presented.

Book

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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.