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Political Thinking POL 161 Erik Rankin Introduction & What is an Ideology? D&B 1-9.

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Presentation on theme: "Political Thinking POL 161 Erik Rankin Introduction & What is an Ideology? D&B 1-9."— Presentation transcript:

1 Political Thinking POL 161 Erik Rankin Introduction & What is an Ideology? D&B 1-9

2 Introduction Who am I? Well, who the hell are you? Distribution of syllabus Discussion of syllabus as a social contract Immanent Critique v. Transcendental Critique

3 Lesson Objectives 1.Describe what the term ideology originally meant 2.Define the term ideology as it will be used in this course 3.Identify 4 functions of a political ideology 4.Specify the connection between ideology and human nature 5.Discern the link between different ideologies and their understanding of freedom 6.Understand the connection between ideology and revolutionary political change

4 Historical Ideology Originally, was a systematic study of the origins or source of our ideas (DeTracy ) 18 th century version is quite different from our conception if it today Ideology came to mean a set of ideas that was somehow suspect, and probably false This still retains significance today For this class an ideology has no unfavorable connotations

5 Introduction What is an ideology? –Dagger and Ball describe an ideology as what “people need to help comprehend and cope with turbulent times and confusing circumstances.” –Does this sound like religion? –Ball and Dagger describe 4 important functions for those who adhere to a specific ideology

6 Explanatory Function An ideology explains political phenomena that would otherwise remain mysterious or puzzling Depending on how you answer specific questions regarding your political feelings, determines to some extent, your ideology A Marxist answers one way, while a deconstructionalist or a socialist will answer another Questions like “Why are there conflicts between nations, races, and social classes?”

7 Evaluative Function An ideology provides a criteria and a standard of evaluation for deciding right and wrong, good and bad. Should we have censorship? Can different races get along, is this desirable? Is there a right to life, who should decide? The government? The individual? It is here one sees that your answer will show a tendency towards a specific ideology

8 Orientative Function An ideology orients, allowing one to have a sense of who they are and where they belong. The idea that there is a social or cultural compass to define and affirm their individual and collective identity A structuralist sees themselves as existing in a world where social structures dominate Fascists see themselves as members of a superior nation or race A liberalist will see the power in human reason and put it above all else Communists, deconstructionalists, Animal liberationalists, etc………

9 Programmatic Function An ideology supplies a political program This program provides and answer to the question posed by Lenin, among others: What is to be done? Who is to do it? With what means? Different answers for liberals, conservatives, fascists, Marxist- Leninist, greens, and many others

10 Introduction Summary –A political ideology is a more or less systematic set of ideas that perform four functions for those who hold it: the explanatory, the evaluative, the orientative, and the programmatic functions. –An ideology in short serves as a guide through the thicket of political life –Is democracy an ideology?

11 Introduction NOPE! Democracy is an ideal that is interpreted by different ideologies Marxists feel democracy means rule by, and in the interest of common people For liberals, democracy means majority rule, with protection of minority rights Well all know conservatives and liberals differ on their view of democracy For greens, it means participatory or grass roots democracy

12 Introduction Dagger and Ball also discuss freedom and its various interpretations Freedom means different things to various ideologies i.e. fascists v. liberals Triadic Model of Freedom Each ideology identifies the triad in their own way

13 Introduction EX: Liberals –Agent: Individuals –Goal: Satisfactions of one’s desires –Obstacle: Any unreasonable restraint or restriction on satisfaction EX: Marxist –Agent: Class- Bourgeoisie or Proletariat –Goal: Classless society –Obstacle: capitalist exploitation

14 Introduction EX: Fascists –Agent: Whole nation or race –Obstacle: Inferior nations or races –Goal: Racial and national purity and supremacy EX: Animal Liberationalists –Agent: Animals –Obstacle: Corporate and individual abuse of animals for capital or personal gain –Goal: liberate animals from current enslaved and mistreated conditions

15 Journal Entry #1 React briefly to the readings in the D&B text pgs. 1-9 Which ideology do you see yourself to have the most in common with? Why?


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