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Ideology

The term ideology has originated from the Latin word Eidos meaning science of ideas and coined by Antoine Destutt de Tracy in 1796.Ideology refers to a set of particular ideas that present a partial view of reality. It allows the viewer to view society in a particular manner. The ideology has elements of beliefs, doctrines and symbols. It can be seen as a basic drive for human actions, good or bad. Without ideology a society cannot move forward. It is a guiding light for directing actions of the individuals and unifying force for the collective action. Karl Marx makes a distinction between true and false ideological consciousness. Similarly Althusser also talks of hegemonic ideology as the imposed ideology of the ruling class. However Marxists too believe that ideology is essential for social change and hence instead of capitalists and hegemonic ideology, they advocate socialism and communism. Althusser proposed the concept of ideology in his Ideological State Apparatus. According to him, the institutions and the rituals in which an individual takes part, produce the ideas in mind of the man to which he submits himself. Functionalism is viewed as the ideology of the ruling class. Post modernists find flaws in both these ideological standpoints and contend that multiplicities of ideologies exist in society. Karl Popper in his book Open Society and its Enemies indicated that every ideology is totalitarian as it is blinded by ideological bias and hence indifferent to plurality of viewpoints. Hence ideology is antithetical to objectivity. Feminist sociologists argue that patriarchal ideology has led to gender discrimination in society

 

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