Ideology and Ideological State Apparatuses (Notes Towards an Investigation)

Althusser’s Ideological State Apparatuses:

  1. religious
  2. educational
  3. family
  4. legal
  5. political
  6. trade-union
  7. communications
  8. cultural

And they are NOT to be confused with Repressive State Apparatus. So what’s the difference? There’s only one RSA, while there are many ISAs, there no discernable unity among ISAs, as opposed to the RSA. RSA in the public domain, while many aspects of ISA in private domain. RSA functions by violence, while ISAs function by ideology. More clearly, RSAs function primarily by violence (repression), secondarily by ideology, and the converse is true, and it is this function that provides the semblance of unity for disparate ideologies.

IMPORTANT: “No class can hold state power over a long period without at the same time exercising its hegemony over and in the State Ideological Apparatuses.”

“An ideology always exists in an apparatus.”

Althusser then describes the ideology of ideology and how the actors and events in the world around individuals, and the social expectations of them, create identification with an ideology, as I’ve read in articles leading up to this one.

He’s poking at Marx a bit here, and the Marxist idea that ideology is, basically, imaginary, by saying an individual’s beliefs are material “in that his ideas are his material actions inserted into material practices governed by material rituals which are themselves defined by the material ideological apparatus from which derive the ideas of that subject.”

So, in a way, ideas have disappeared in favor an existence “is inscribed in the actions of practices governed by rituals defined in the last instance by an ideological apparatus. In other words, there are no ‘ideas’ as such, rather actions/thoughts governed by ideological apparatuses.

The importance of the notion of ‘subject.’

  1. There is no practice except by and in an ideology
  2. There is no ideology except by the subject and for subjects.

Now, after confusing me greatly (I’m not so sure I’m grasping all of Althusser’s argument here) he moves on to his “central thesis.”

Ideology Interpellates Individuals as Subjects

I’ll have to have some guidance from my instructor on this one. Once Althusser gets into his main these, I get very confused about, for example, this quote:

“This thesis is simply a matter of making my last proposition explicit: there is no ideology except by the subjects and for subjects. MEANING, there is no ideology except for concrete subjects, and this destination for ideology is only made possible by the subject: MEANING, by the category of the subject and its functioning.” What? What exactly is a subject? “By this I MEAN that, even if it only appears under this name (the subject) with the rise of bourgeois ideology, above all with the rise of legal ideology, the category of the subject (again, what’s ‘the category of a subject’?)(which may function under other names: e.g. , as the soul in Plato, as God, etc.) is the constitutive category of all ideology, whatever its determination (regional or class) and whatever its historical date — since ideology has no history (what?).

Seriously, he says some iteration of the phrase ‘what I mean is…’ three times in that one paragraph, which included one of the nastiest run-on sentences I’ve ever encountered. It seems he’s trying to clarify his baffling position with the above paragraph, but there’s nothing clear about it.

And I’ll need to understand that before being able to grasp his next point, which also includes a lot about “subjects,” whatever they are. I gather I’m a subject, and so is Althusser, and so is everyone. Why he insists on calling people subjects is beyond me, except to mean that everyone is subject to ideology; more so, that there’s no separating ideology from individual. I do think that’s the overall point he’s trying to make using these word gymnastics. Instead, he says “the category of the subject is constitutive of all ideology..”

There’s no subject of science Althusser says? But science was one of the SUBJECTS I took in school. See, I’m missing something here. What the fuck is a SUBJECT?

And how many times will Althusser start to make a point, then say, naw, let’s leave that for another discussion. It’s annoying.

OK, ideology interpellates individuals as subjects. I know know that without know that it means.

Always-already? Again, what? I’m sorry, I’ve enjoyed every reading I’ve done for this independent study, except this last one. The over-wordiness of this is inexcusable.

The Public Sphere: An Encyclopedia Article

The Concept

The public sphere – “A realm of social life in which something approaching public opinion can be formed. Access is granted to all citizens. A portion of the public sphere comes into being in every conversation in which private individuals assemble to form a public body.”

It’s a broad, but accurate definition, but there are limitations. This isn’t a business transaction or meeting of political officials. “Citizens behave as a public body when they confer in an unrestricted fashion — that is, with the guarantee of freedom of assembly and association and the freedom to express and publish their opinions.”

In a large public body, that kind of communication requires transmission, i.e., newspapers, magazines, radio, and television (obviously, this was written way before the internet).

And a reminder, here, we’re talking about the political public sphere. There are many public spheres. State authority exercises authority over public sphere, but is not a part of it, unless there’s democratic control of state authority.

The History

The public sphere hasn’t always been around. Take, for instance, the middle ages, when there was no distinguishing between private opinion and public opinion, merely public representations of power like the princely seal.

Still that limited public representation, brought about by feudal authorities like the church and nobility, evolved into distinctly public and private elements, the church as private, and the nobility, now with separate budgets from the ‘public’ budget, thus became more independent of the private sphere they were part of before. “Nobility became the organs of public authority, parliament, and the legal institutions, while those occupied in the trades and professions developed into a sphere of bourgeois society which would stand apart from the state as a genuine area of private autonomy.”

A representative public sphere began to submit to public authority. “Private individuals subsumed in the state at whom public authority was directed now made up the public body.”

So, society became a private realm in opposition to the state, but society also became a concern of public interest when the developing market economy “had grown beyond the bounds of private domestic authority.” So, we get the ‘bourgeois public sphere’, “the sphere of private individuals assembled into a public body…” And they demand a voice for debate.

The Liberal Model of the Public Sphere

The medium for that debate was public discussion, of course.

“For the perfect image of the liberal model of the public sphere, just look at the catalogues of rights in the first modern constitutions:

  1. They guaranteed the society as a sphere of private autonomy and the restriction of public authority over a few functions.
  2. Between these two spheres, the constitutions further insured the existence of a realm of private individuals assembled into a public body who as citizens transmit the needs of bourgeois society to the state, in order, ideally, to transform political into ‘rational’ authority within the medium of this public sphere.
  3. The general interest, which was the measure of such rationality, was then guaranteed, according to the presuppositions of a society of free commodity exchange, when the activities of private individuals in the marketplace were freed from social compulsion and from political pressure in the public sphere.”

Daily political newspapers start to take off. From being mere lists of notices, the papers now assumed the role of bearers of public opinion. The editorial staff. This was before newspapers became a “medium of consumer culture.”

The Public Sphere in the Social Welfare State Mass Democracy

Those liberal principles still apply, but can’t be properly applied “to the actual conditions of an industrially advanced mass democracy organized in the form of the social welfare state.”

For example, “group needs which can expect no satisfaction from a self-regulating market now tend toward a regulation by the state.”

“With the interweaving of the pubic and private realms, not only do the political authorities assume certain functions in the sphere of commodity exchange and social labor, but, conversely, social powers now assume political functions.

Habermas says this leads to a “refeudalization” of the public sphere, where large organizations seek compromise with the state to the exclusion of the public sphere. However, these large organizations have to appear open to the public to maintain the support they need.

In a social welfare state, the political public sphere has its critical functions weakened:

“At one time the process of making proceedings public was intended to subject persons or affairs to public reason, and to make political decisions subject to appeal before the court of public opinion. But often enough today the process of making public simply serves the arcane policies of special interests; in the form of ‘publicity’ it wins public prestige for people or affairs, thus making them worthy of acclamation in a climate of nonpublic opinion.

But that weakening of the public sphere is countered by the extension of rights in the social welfare state.

(i) History of the Subaltern Classes; (ii) The Concept of “Ideology”; (iii) Cultural Themes: Ideological Material

History of the Subaltern Classes:

First, I just have to say, how neat is it to be able to read this article by Gramsci and at least begin to understand what he’s talking about, which would not have been the case just a few weeks ago.

Right from the beginning, we see the idea of hegemony taking shape in Gramsci’s argument by his statement that “the fundamental historical unity, concretely, results from the organic relations between State or political society and ‘civil society.’

Subaltern (lower) classes aren’t unified and can’t be a State until unity can occur. Therefore the subaltern are part of ‘civil society’ and, since relations between State and civil society is how historical unity is formed, in that way, the subaltern is tied to the history of States.

Given that, Gramsci says it’s necessary to study:

  1. The formation of subaltern social groups through changes in the sphere of the mode of economic production (within a capitalist, feudal, etc. system) out of existing groups whose ideology they hold to for a time.
  2. Their affiliation with and attitude toward dominant political formations, and how they try to influence the dominant formation to bend to their own needs, the “consequences of these attempts in determining processes of decomposition, renovation or neo-formation.
  3. How the dominant group responds, i.e., the “birth of new parties of the dominant groups, intended to conserve the assent of the subaltern groups and maintain control over them.”
  4. The groups created within the subaltern groups to press their more narrow claims.
  5. Which of those new formations within the subaltern groups “assert the autonomy of the subaltern groups, but within the old framework.”
  6. Which of those new formations within the subaltern groups “assert the integral autonomy, etc.”

The history of subaltern groups is complicated, and a historian must record and find the causes of the whole line of development toward integral autonomy, “starting from the most primitive phases; he must note every manifestation of the Sorelian ‘spirit of cleavage’ (As defined by Ohara 2001 as: acquisition of the consciousness of one’s historical identity, or integral autonomy.)

The supremacy “of a social group manifests itself in two ways, as ‘domination’ and ‘intellectual and moral leadership.’

The Concept of Ideology

Gramsci imparts the original definition of ideology as an aspect of eighteenth century French materialism known as ‘sensationalism,’ the investigation of the origins of ideas. Ideas consisted of elements that were the results of sensations.

Gramsci says the process by which ideology went from that definition to mean “a specific system of ideas” needs to be studied historically. He says it’ll be easily grasped and understood. We’ll see…

But first, Gramsci lambasts the negative connotations given to ideologies by Marxist theorists, and traces the origins of their error to (1) the idea that structure changes ideology, not vice versa (2) a given political solution is deemed as ideological as well as stupid and useless because it fails to change structure, though it claims to be able to do so, and (3) then that all ideologies are just for appearances, and thus are all useless.

So, Gramsci says there must be a distinction made between ideologies are necessary to the structure, and those that are arbitrary to it.

Historically necessary ideologies organized masses, and “create the terrain on which men move, acquire consciousness of their position, struggle, etc.” Arbitrary ideologies on create “individual movements and polemics.”

Gramsci then seems to agree with Marx in his comparison of popular conviction as a material force.

Cultural Theme: Ideological Material

When looking at how the ideological structure of the dominant class is organized, maintained, defended, “it’s most prominent and dynamic part is the press in general.” But it’s not the only part. There are libraries, schools, clubs, associations, churches, “even architecture and the layout and names of streets” that influence public opinion.

The Ruling Class and the Ruling Ideas

In reading Marx and Engle themselves, I’m struck by the definitiveness of their point of view. They basically say this is how it works: the thinkers in the ruling class establish/maintains ideologies that benefit the ruling class and impose their perceptions of the world onto the passive masses. There can hostility within the ruling class because of the split between the thinkers and the active members of the class, but those conflicts disappear when the whole of the ruling class is threatened, by, say, revolution, which has a ruling class all its own.

Now, the elites can’t simply impose their ideology onto the masses, they have to make the masses believe the ideology of the elites is the ideology that brings them the most benefit; that the way elites say things should be are the way the masses think things ought to be.

And a new ruling class can, in fact, raise prospects for members of the masses, but only insofar as they themselves have a better chance at entering the ruling class under the new regime.

“Every new class, therefore, achieves domination only on a broader basis than that of the ruling class previously…”

Now to the point: Marx and Engle say this whole manipulative/thought-controlling process breaks down when class is dissolved; when we no longer organize society into classes. If that’s the case, then thought and ideas become the dominant force in history and each idea a form of self-determination.

To see this fact, one “must separate the ideas of those ruling” from rulers, recognizing that ideas truly rule the illusions of history. Then, one must connect the ruling ideas through whatever historical epoch, but with removing the mystical connotations of that and recognizing the individuals (ruling elites) who perpetuate the rule of certain ideas.

MARXISMS: Part 5 – Post-Marxism and Cultural Studies

Marxism no longer as influential as it was in the past for culture studies, which brings us to post-Marxism and it’s perceptions for culture studies. After all, Marxist-type governance was kind of a big failure in practice. And it has been restrained by its on-the-surface problems: these “immutable laws of history” and the out and out rejection of ideology and all the culture and symbols around it.

Post-Marxism can mean two things:

  1. post Marxist – leave behind Marxism for something better
  2. post-Marxism – seek to transform Marxism into something better by incorporating feminism, postmodernism, post-structuralism and Lacanian psychoanalysis. (For Ernesto Laclau, post-Marxist thought leader)

Laclau and Mouffe more post-Marxist, and envision Marxism partnered with new feminism, protest movements, anti-nuclear, etc.

Cultural studies are post-Marxist

Discourse essential to post-Marxism.

Discourse – Laclau has a complicated definition, but basically, discourse is both the verbal and non-verbal movements of any social configuration. The words spoken, the perceptions created by the words, implied communication, and their contexts.

So many great examples given, but “objects exist independently of their discursive articulation, but it is only within discourse that they can exist as meaningful objects”

Think of earthquakes: earthquakes are what they are. However, whether they’re considered a natural occurrence or the wrath of god depends on the “structuring discursive field.”

Translating the importance of discourse to politics/ideology is simple. “Meanings produced in discourse inform and organize action.” Only with discourse can a subordinate relationship become oppressive. For the relationship to be considered oppressive, the oppressee must realize it.

They key in hegemony is to turn that antagonism into “simple differences.” (It’s not that I, a rich person, am oppressing you, the poor, we’re just different, that’s all. We need both rich and poor. There’s nothing oppressive about this relationship.)

Articulation, an important concept for post-Marxism. Articulation consists in “the partial fixing of meaning.”

For Hall, it’s a way to explain the ways “in which culture is a terrain of ideological struggle.” Meaning is always the result of articulation. Articulation, fixing meanings, think of the word nigger and how the different accent used by black performers compared to white racists changes the meaning of the word. How it’s articulated changes its meaning.

Think of Rastafarianism and Reggae, which are anti-capitalist, and the monetary success that comes with producing a popular reggae album. Reggae “is a force for change that paradoxically stabilizes the very forces of power it seeks to overthrow.”

Articulation (also) – “The way in which dominant groups in a society attempt to negotiate oppositional voices on to a terrain which secures for the dominant groups a continued position of leadership.”

The connection between meaning and culture: “There is the social definition of culture, in which culture is a description of a particular way of life, which expresses certain meanings and values not only in art and learning but also in institutions and ordinary behavior. The analysis of culture, from such a definition, is the clarification of the meanings and values implicit in a particular way of life”

So, culture is all forms of social activity, not just high art, etc. Not that opera and stuff isn’t actually better and more high-minded, but we can’t understand a society unless we consider other stuff as culture. So, Laclau/Mouffe/post-Marxists define culture as “the production, circulation, and consumption of meanings.”

Post-Marxist cultural studies draw two conclusions from all of this:

  1. “Although the world exists in all its enabling and constraining materiality outside culture, it is only in culture that the world can be made to mean.
  2. “Because different meanings can be ascribed to the same ‘text’, meaning making is always a potential site of struggle/negotiation.”

Post-Marxists don’t think the masses are passive! They make the culture. It’s not all on the influence of elites. Now, let’s not give popular culture too much credit. It’s just not the wasteland of cultural death some scholars believe it to be.

MARXISMS: Part 4 – Hegemony

Gramsci and hegemony, as I’ve read before, was the Marxist’s explanation for the lack of socialist revolution in the western capitalist societies, and refers to “a condition in process in which a dominant class does not merely rule a society, but leads it through the exercise of intellectual and moral leadership.”

The elites present their interests as the interests of everyone else. In a hegemonous society, there’s a high degree of consensus, despite the presence of oppression and exploitation.

Here’s a great example from page 80:

“…elections in Britain were contested by what are now the two main political parties, Labour and Conservative. On each occasion the contest circled around the question, who can best administer capitalism (the economy)… In this sense, the parameters of the election debate are ultimately dictated by the particular needs and interests of capitalism, presented as the interests and needs of society as a whole.”

Hegemony implies that everyone agrees, but that’s not the case. There’s still conflict. Instead “conflict is contained and channeled into ideologically safe harbors. Subordinate groups have concessions made to them for appeasement, as I’ve read before.

Organic intellectuals organize hegemony, and each class has its own intellectuals. Gramsci thought of these intellectuals as individuals, but later interpretations bestow the title of intellectual on apparatuses like TV, the family, etc.

Striking example of how youth culture leads to hegemony on page 81. Basically, youth culture, which may start out as original and an affront to the hegemony, is, over time, adopted by the rest of society, commercialized, made part of the whole and thus no longer original, and far from a challenge to the status quo, supports it.

Popular culture not an authentic culture stopper, nor dictated from above, rather it’s a negotiated mix of all of the above.

MARXISMS: Part 3 – Althusser

Louis Althusser and ideology, as we’ve already read. Rejected the ‘mechanistic interpretation’ of the base/superstructure paradigm for the social formation, which consists of three practices:

  1. economic
  2. political
  3. ideological

The superstructure isn’t a reflection of the base, but is necessary to the base’s existence. Superstructure more autonomous than Marx would’ve argued. “Economic always determinant, this does not mean that in a particular historical conjecture it will necessarily be dominant.” For example, political dominant in feudal system, but of course, the dominant practice will depend on the form of economic production.

Three definitions of ideology from Althusser:

  1. Ideology dispels contradictions in lived experience, and the relationship between individuals and their conditions of existence is both real and imaginary. “The Problematic:” the assumptions, motivations, underlying ideas from which a text is made. Symptomatic readings are the only way to decode the problematics of a text. Example: A car ad that shows the car in the middle of nowhere. That is symptomatic of the problematic questions about whether the car pollutes. The answer, without the question being formally posed is ‘no.’

Macherey differs a bit by saying that symptomatic readings aren’t intended to decode the true meaning of a text, but instead reveals the multiple meanings of a text, a point of view with less negative connotations. “Conflict of several meanings that structures a text.”

“”The task of a fully competent critical practice is not to make a whisper audible, nor to complete what the text leaves unsaid, but to produce a new knowledge of the text: one that explains the ideological necessity of its silences, its absences, its structuring incompleteness — the staging of that which it cannot speak.”

Althusser’s second definition of ideology: it’s still a representation of imaginary relationships between individuals and their circumstances, but instead of being simply a body of ideas, ideology is “a lived, material practice — rituals, customs, patterns of behavior, ways of thinking taking practical form — reproduced through the practices and productions of the Ideological State Apparatuses: education, religion, family, politics, media, culture industry.”

But, of course, there’s a problem with Althusser’s second definition of ideology: it presupposed that interpellation works every time. However, like in the example of a racist joke that doesn’t interpellate a non-racist, even thought it intends to. As a result, many turned to Gransci.

MARXISMS: Part 2 – The Frankfurt School

The Frankfurt School – 1923, group of German intellectuals at U of Frankfurt. Moved to Univeristy of Columbia in NY after Hitler came to power. Back to German in 1949. ‘Critical Theory’ is the name given to the group’s mix of Marxism and psychoanalysis. Main characters – Theodor Adorno, Walter Benjamin, Max Horkheimer, Leo Lowentahl, Herbert Marcuse.

Adorno and Horkheimer coin the term ‘culture industry’ in 1944 “to designate the products and processes of mass culture. And the culture industry’s products are homogenous and predictable.

The culture industry maintains social authority. That’s the view of the Frankfurt School, and stands in opposition to Arnold and Leavisism, who believed popular culture eroded social/cultural authority. A&L saw anarchy, but the Frankfurt School saw order: “a situation in which ‘the deceived masses’ are aught in a ‘circle of manipulation and retroactive need in which the unity of the system grows ever stronger.” OK with little pay because look how whimsical I am!! (In reference to play).

Lowenthal says the culture industry keeps the working class from realizing more of their potential by mitigating revolutionary thoughts through appeasement with wealth, power, “passionate love”… “In short, the culture industry discourages the masses from thinking beyond the confines of the present.” (See Marcuse quote on page 63 for clarification.) “By supplying the means to satisfaction of certain needs, capitalism is able to prevent the formation of more fundamental desires.” Culture industry stunts political imagination.

High culture/art is not part of the culture industry. It’s the alternative, the utopian, the answer to capitalism, but as it gets absorbed more and more into the mass culture, it looses its powers of resistance and revolution. To me, it seems this must present a kind of strangeness to someone trying to make a living by creating art. It can’t be high culture, transcending capitalism, if the masses love it, but the masses have to love it for the artist to make any money. Once art is commercialized, accepted, it ceases to be art at all. Instead, it becomes just another tool of the culture industry to keep the masses satisfied, but still controlled.

The absorption isn’t necessarily wrong, just premature in the eyes of Marcuse and the Frankfurt School. Sure, thought, high culture can be an aspect of mass culture, once cultures aren’t exploited under a capitalist system, but for it to be absorbed now, again, allows high culture to take on the worst qualities of the culture industry.

Popular music, or the circle that makes escape impossible. The relationship between work and leisure in a capitalist society with a culture industry (as though they’re separable). Adorno ‘On Popular Music’:

  1. Pop music is standardized
  2. Pop music promotes passive listening
  3. Pop music is social cement

“Popular music is the non productive correlate to life in the office or factory. To consume it demands inattention and distraction, whilst its consumption produces in the consumer inattention and distraction. Denied novelty in their work time, and too exhausted for it in their leisure time, they crave a stimulant. Popular music satisfied the craving and reinforces societal norms.”

But there are lots of problems with Adorno’s assertions. Subculture use of music, floundering sales “does not suggest the workings of an all powerful culture industry, easily able to manipulate its consumers. It sounds more like a culture industry trying desperately to see records to a critical and discriminating public.” And consumption certainly seems more active than Adorno states.

Benjamin actually has a rather sunny view of capitalism as it relates to culture, saying that capitalism could lead one day to the abolition of capitalism, as culture is reproduced in new and unpredictable ways. Thus, it loses it’s ‘normal’ aura. Benjamin would’ve love the internet it sounds like.

MARXISMS: Part 1 – Classical Marxism

Marx – “The philosophers have only interpreted the world, in various ways; the point is to change it.”

The Marxist approach is unique in its focus on the historical means of production; that is, that a society’s historical means of production (way of life), for example, slave, feudal, capitalist. This, in Marx’s view, determined the social, political, intellectual condition of a society.

For that Marxist view to hold true, the relationship between ‘base’ and ‘superstructure’ must also hold true:

Base – ‘forces of production,’ ‘relations of production,’ Forces: raw materials, tools, tech, workers and their skills. Relations: master/slave, lord/peasant, bourgeois/proletariat. Relationship to mode of production determines class.

Superstructure – Develops alongside a specific mode of production. Includes institutions (Political, legal, educational, cultural) and the “definite forms of social consciousness” (political, religious, ethical, philosophical, aesthetic, cultural) that develop from them.

Superstructure both expresses and legitimates the base, but the base conditions or determines the content and form of the superstructure. That can lead to a kind of bastardized Marxist interpretation, called ‘reflection theory’, which states that culture can be determined simply by looking at economic conditions of its production. Basically, that the economic conditions are the only determinant of culture, politics, etc. That has never been true in the eyes of Marx, or Engle, his successor, who had to try to get crazy young Marxists to understand that yes, the economic conditions are the base, and the main determinant of superstructure, but the other factors play a part, too. “We make our own history,” Engle says, “but under very definite assumptions and conditions.”

The class with the ruling material force is also the ruling intellectual force, but that doesn’t mean the ruling ideas are forced on society, instead, the ruling class has to get the point across that their best interest is also the best interest of the subordinate class. Given that, ideological struggle is inevitable. And it is the ideological forms of the superstructures that people really fight it out over.

A classical Marxists approach would have all aspects of a society viewed through the lens of that aspect’s historical moment of production, “analayzed in terms of the historical conditions that produced it. Take the study of a 19th century music hall or the invention of ‘traditional Christmas.’ The mode of production’s relationship to their development is key to the Marxist view.

Ideology: A Very Short Introduction – Chapter 10 Notes

Politics can’t do without ideology (Sorry Marx)

Ideology has had a difficult history, and there’s still plenty of debate over its positive and negative connotations.

Freeden’s purpose in writing this book was to reclaim ideology for politics, after the concept has been loosely interpreted by multiple disciplines. It is the mainly the purview the political scientists, who’ve controlled the pace of development of the study of ideology.

These scholars have assigned ideology an important role in politics, and it’s undoubtedly true. The study of ideology makes the most sense in a political paradigm.

“In effect, the study of ideology is most profitably recognized as the study of actual political thought — the concrete thinking of political communities and within political communities.”

Studying ideology is not an optional extra for political scholars, but absolutely necessary.

But that introduces the problem of the ideologies negative connotations, and the problem with the idea that all thought and action is ideological. That would certainly muddy the waters of its study. Rather, Freeden suggests we think of all thoughts and actions as having merely a dimension of ideology.

Liberalism, while certainly not the declared winner of the ideologies, is more individualized, as the rest of society is becoming, making the liberal ideology more suited to modern times.

It encourages originality, and can thus hold disparate groups together more firmly.

However, this analysis does not include liberal-capitalists, which allows for consumer choice, “but controls it carefully through marketing and leadership, which leads not to diversity, but new types of uniformity.”

But we need ideological disagreement, and it always exists, even in a hegemony.

Why is ideology so important to politics? Four reasons:

Ideologies are the typical forms through which political thought is expressed.

Ideologies are influential kinds of political thought. (offer decision-making frameworks.)

Ideologies are instances of imaginative creativity and provide the resources and opportunities from which political systems draw. Ideologies are a blend of intellectual judgment, emotional satisfaction, and aesthetic appeal.

Ideologies need to be communicable, easily embraced by the masses, non-specific, and contribute to political debate.

“Older theories of ideological dogmatism and stasis are giving way to newer ones of ideological malleability.”