Sociology Index

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Ideology

Ideology is conscious and unconscious ideas which make up one's beliefs, motivations, goals and expectations. Ideology is the imaginary relation to the real conditions of existence.  Ideology can be dominant as in dominant ideology thesis or ideas proposed by the dominant class of society to all members of society as in some Marxist and critical-theory accounts. Ideology is central to politics. Political or economic tendency entails ideology, whether or not it is propounded as a system of thought.

The term ideology was coined by Antoine Destutt de Tracy, joining the words idea, from and -logy. Antoine Destutt de Tracy used it to refer to one aspect of his Science of Ideas. While Karl Marx situated the term ideology within class struggle and domination. The term "ideology" has dropped some of its pejorative sting, and has become a neutral term in the analysis of differing political opinions and views of social groups.

According to Marxist philosopher Louis Pierre Althusser, ideology is the imagined existence or idea of things as it relates to the real conditions of existence. The term ideology is especially used to describe systems of ideas and ideals which form the basis of economic or political theories and resultant policies. Hippolyte Taine describes ideology as teaching philosophy by the Socratic method. Hippolyte Taine identifies ideology with Antoine Destutt De Tracy. Karl Marx used the term ideology within class struggle and domination while others believed ideology was a necessary part of institutional functioning and social integration. 

Ideologies are patterned clusters of normatively imbued ideas and concepts, including particular representations of power relations. These conceptual maps help people navigate the complexity of their political universe and carry claims to social truth. Political ideology is a set of ideals, doctrines and myths. Political ideology contains ideas on what it considers to be the best form of government like democracy and theocracy.