Ideology: Meaning, Types, Right, Left and Centrist Examples (2022)

What is ideology?

Ideology can be defined as a set of ideas and practices which is conceived to bring about social-political, economic, or cultural changes in the ways of perception along with implementing certain changes that entail it. The term ideology was coined by Antoine Destutt de Tracy, is French philosopher, he coined this term in the 18th century, he used the term to denote what he called the ‘science of ideas’ which was the study of nature and origin or the knowledge about things. There are two main types of ideologies: political ideologies, and epistemological ideologies.

Ideology shapes our actions, thoughts, interactions, etc. which in turn shapes the processes of society. An ideology often stems out of the social structure and is expressive of the social interests of the society.

Ideology: Meaning, Types, Right, Left and Centrist Examples (1)

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We use the term ideology today to refer to the political ideas of those in power, which thus becomes the dominant ideology of society.

E.g. democracy is a political ideology which we see in practice in India today, a totalitarian regime follows the ideology of totalitarianism as in the Soviet Union under the leadership of Joseph Stalin. When we look back at the past scholars we find that Karl Marx was the first of the scholars to give a theoretical understanding of the term ideology in the discipline of sociology. Marx said that the ideology would arise out of the mode of production of the society, the focus of his study was the societies where capitalism was the mode of production.

His theory was formed on the idea that in the society there was base/substructure and the superstructure, while the base was the relation of production the superstructure consisted of the culture, institutions, political power structures, etc of the society. This superstructure grew out of the base and was often representative of the class interests and what Marx has called the dominant ideology, which is the ideology of the owner class or the bourgeois. According to Marx the base and the superstructure had a dialectical relationship, the effect one another and the dominant ideology is imposed on the working class, once the working class becomes aware of this ideology, they will act on it, which will lead to class consciousness, thus leading to a revolution.

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Much of Marx’s ideology is based on the occurrence of this revolution which is based on the shift of ideology. Thus it can be said that the ideology has the power to form an entire basis on which the social processes can be based on.

We see that the ideology in the United States is the one that supports a capitalist society, similarly, the ideology will be different for India, and for other countries and will not be the same for all societies, as they are based on how the society is structured to a very large extent.

It can be in a way understood that ideology tends to explain the phenomenon which has occurred or is occurring and aims to bring about an alternative to understand and work on the socio-political situation. For example- After World War I when Germany lost, then there was a major ideological shift among the people which was reflected in their government too. After the democratic party lost Nazism took up the reins of Germany reflecting the positional and the ideological shift of the country’s outlook.

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Ideology, more specifically political ideology, should not be understood as something singular but instead more of a spectrum. Each ideology contains certain notions towards issues like rights, duties, laws, and liberties and these specific takes on these issues become components of this spectrum under political ideologies like- capitalism, libertarianism, feminism, etc.

This spectrum is most often than not simplified into the left-right spectrum. Both left and right signifying the extremes of the spectrum especially when it comes to striking a balance between the power of the individual and the power of the government. The intermediate ideology is called centrism.

Right ideology

Right ideology can be defined as one end of the political ideology spectrum which is characteristically defined by the notions of nationalism, authority, hierarchy, and traditionalism. There are various categories that are utilised to define the right ideology like conservatives right- imperialists, fascists and traditionalists each displaying varying amount fright wing politics and upholding those beliefs. For example- Germany under Hitler’s rule displayed fascism which curtailed rights extremely and let one man be at the helm of all power. On the other hand, the Republicans of America are often compared with being traditionalists due to their belief in the norms of Christianity and the Church. Its economic features can be defined by encouraging the least possible intervention by the government in economic markets and encouraging a laissez-faire economy where the individual takes up the onus to conduct their own transactions within minimal to absolutely no state intervention. For example- if a person wants to be involved in trade and conduct their own business and earn profits it is their discretion how they choose to start the business and build its customer base. The government has no say in the same and the individual can control whatever they choose to. Culturally the right adheres to a strict policy of sticking with traditionalism and the norms of the society by preserving the notions of the past. For example- In Egypt abortion is prevented as a whole, often in most societies, abortion is considered as a means to disintegrate the family unit and is thus prevented.

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Left Ideology

Left ideology on the other hand lies on the opposite side of the spectrum and principally is opposite to exactly what right ideology stands for. Left ideology entails the principles of freedom equality, reform, and internationalism. Economically, the left ideology stands for central planning and adequate government intervention ensuring a welfare state and protectionism. For example- In India, we have the concept of reservation and it is because for several generations SC’s, ST’s and OBC’s have been oppressed and deprived of economic powers and thus through these schemes the government aims to bring all of them around the same level. Culturally, the left ideology aligns with the fact that there should be a sense of progression and equality. For example- the several pride marches and LGBTQIA+ movements are supported by most of the left parties across the world. The left has always emphasised on the separation of state and religion and highlights the importance of secularism. For example- In India through the 42nd Amendment the term ‘secular’ was added to ensure that the country adheres to no specific religion while creating laws and the public and private spheres are separate.

Centrist Ideology

Centrist ideology falls somewhere in the middle of the spectrum. It aims to highlight the pros and the cons of both extreme ideologies and tries to define itself through moderation. Centrism only arises from a very relational context and arises to strike a balance between the two extreme ideologies. For example- National People’s Party which was formed in India aimed to have centrism as its core value and has significant influence over the Northeast especially Meghalaya. It is also significantly fluid as it is more contextual in nature and the policies or laws which are aligning to the centrist position is often subject to change and alteration depending on the situation and the circumstances within which it was created. In recent days also the ideology has biome significantly popular due to its moderate take on issues and seems to align with a vast majority of the people. This trend has been specifically observed in the post cold war era which encourages both democracy and capitalism to thrive. It must also be noted that most people often adhere to this ideology specifically when capitalism has created a massive ‘middle class’ whose needs are best looked after by the centrist perspectives. This is also more all-encompassing in nature as it applies to not just one specific constituency or situation but extends to a larger area.

Ending remarks

All three ideologies have cropped up at varying times describing the needs of the society and the immediate situations the people had to tackle and encounter. While neither right ideology nor left ideology has been historical successes ( as observed for Hitler in the case of right-wing politics and Stalin for left-wing politics) a number of scholars believe that the way forward is centrism. Centrism brings with itself a sense of balance that aspires to bridge the extremities and work on situations to ensure that adequate measures are being undertaken. However, it must be noted that ideology is not simply categorised under three banners and centrism is not exactly the solution for a lot of issues as post-truth and mainstreaming of ideologies along with effects of media has made this spectrum even more complex and the politics even more dynamic.

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FAQs

What are the 4 main ideologies? ›

Contents
  • 2.1 Conservatism.
  • 2.2 Liberalism.
  • 2.3 Moderates.

What is ideology and its types? ›

An ideology is a collection of ideas or beliefs shared by a group of people. It may be a connected set of ideas, or a style of thought, or a world-view. It was coined by a French philosopher, Destutt de Tracy in 1801/5. There are two main types of ideologies: political ideologies, and epistemological ideologies.

What is an example of an ideology? ›

An ideology is a belief system that underpins a political or economic theory. Ideologies form the operating principles for running a society. Examples of ideologies include liberalism, conservatism, socialism, communism, theocracy, agrarianism, totalitarianism, democracy, colonialism, and globalism.

What is ideology short answer? ›

Definition of ideology

1a : a manner or the content of thinking characteristic of an individual, group, or culture. b : the integrated assertions, theories and aims that constitute a sociopolitical program. c : a systematic body of concepts especially about human life or culture.

What is ideology explain? ›

An ideology is a set of opinions or beliefs of a group or an individual. Very often ideology refers to a set of political beliefs or a set of ideas that characterize a particular culture. Capitalism, communism, socialism, and Marxism are ideologies.

What are the main ideologies? ›

  • Anarchism (kinds of ideologies)
  • Communism.
  • Conservatism.
  • Environmentalism.
  • Fascism.
  • Feminism and identity politics.

How do you say ideology? ›

Break 'Ideology' down into sounds: [EYE] + [DEE] + [OL] + [UH] + [JEE] - say it out loud and exaggerate the sounds until you can consistently produce them.

What is your ideology in life? ›

Abstract. Personal ideology is an individual's philosophy of how life should be and of what forces influence human living.

When was ideology first used? ›

We meet with the word "ideology" for the first time in 1801 when Destutt de Tracy coined the term "ideologie.

What are ideological functions? ›

Ideology functions as the superstructure of a civilization: the conventions and culture that make up the dominant ideas of a society.

What is the purpose of ideologies? ›

The main purpose behind an ideology is to offer either change in society, or adherence to a set of ideals where conformity already exists, through a normative thought process. Ideologies are systems of abstract thought applied to public matters and thus make this concept central to politics.

What is ideology and its features? ›

Ideologies are an element of an individual's worldview that are rooted in elements of character such as ideas and emotions regarding morals, risk taking and change. As such, it is common for an individual's ideological views to remain stable for many years or throughout their entire life.

What is ideology in culture? ›

Ideology is defined as a set of shared beliefs within a group, such as a nation or social class. This body of beliefs influences the way individuals think, act and view the world.

What is religious ideology? ›

A religious ideology can be defined as a set of ideas that refer to religious and secular tools and accompany political actions and processes in a sustained and systematic way.

What is ideology in writing? ›

Conceived from the perspective of rhetoric, ideology provides the language to define the subject (the self), other subjects, the material world, and the relation of all of these to each other. Ideology is thus inscribed in language practices, en- tering all features of our experience.

What is the role of ideology in society? ›

Ideology is a set of collectively held ideas about society, usually promoted in order to justify a certain type of political action. Ideologies have an explanatory function: they provide explanations for the facts and problems of the social life, so enabling individuals and groups to orientate themselves in society.

What is ideology in literary theory? ›

Ideologies are the changing ideas, values, and feelings through which individuals experience their societies. They present the dominant ideas and values as the beliefs of society as a whole, thus preventing individuals from seeing how society actually functions.

What are the 4 types of political parties? ›

Political scientists have distinguished between different types of political parties that have evolved throughout history. These include cadre parties, mass parties, catch-all parties and cartel parties.

What is ideology in history? ›

ideology, a form of social or political philosophy in which practical elements are as prominent as theoretical ones. It is a system of ideas that aspires both to explain the world and to change it.

What is government ideology? ›

An ideology is a collection of ideas. Typically, each ideology contains certain ideas on what it considers to be the best form of government (e.g. autocracy or democracy) and the best economic system (e.g. capitalism or socialism). The same word is sometimes used to identify both an ideology and one of its main ideas.

What is the difference between ideology and theory? ›

Ideology refers to the collection of beliefs that an individual has about the world while a theory refers to an idea or explanation of how something exists as it does in the world.

How does an ideology differ from a philosophy? ›

Ideology refers to a set of beliefs, doctrines that back a certain social institution or a particular organization. Philosophy refers to looking at life in a pragmatic manner and attempting to understand why life is as it is and the principles governing behind it.

How do you speak govern? ›

2 syllables: "GUV" + "uhn"

Is religion an ideology? ›

Religions are generally classified as subgroups of ideologies, in that they meet all the requirements and perform similar functions to an ideology, but have unique 'properties' unto themselves.

What are the ideologies of education? ›

Ideology in education refers to the beliefs, customs, culture and values that give direction to education in areas of the curriculum, such as economics, politics, moral and religious, knowledge and truth, the aesthetic and artistic (Fiala, 2007.

How does ideology affect culture? ›

The expression of culture is invariably wrapped up in ideology. While culture permeates us all, ideology exists to provide a guide to assumptions, behaviours and identity that's an inevitable outcome when culture develops in a commercial society.

What is social ideology? ›

Within the field of sociology, ideology is broadly understood to refer to the sum total of a person's values, beliefs, assumptions, and expectations. Ideology exists within society, within groups, and between people. It shapes our thoughts, actions, and interactions, along with what happens in society at large.

Is the law an ideology? ›

If law is a system of enforceable rules governing social relations and legislated by a political system, it might seem obvious that law is connected to ideology. Ideology refers, in a general sense, to a system of political ideas, and law and politics seem inextricably intertwined.

What is nationalist ideology? ›

Nationalism holds that each nation should govern itself, free from outside interference (self-determination), that a nation is a natural and ideal basis for a polity, and that the nation is the only rightful source of political power.

What is ideological control? ›

Ideological control can be defined as efforts to persuade people to adopt certain values, norms, and ideas about what is good, important, praiseworthy, and so on in terms of work and organizational life.

What is ideological perspective? ›

1 a body of ideas that reflects the beliefs and interests of a nation, political system, etc. and underlies political action. 2 (Philosophy, sociol) the set of beliefs by which a group or society orders reality so as to render it intelligible. 3 speculation that is imaginary or visionary.

Why is ideology important in literature? ›

One can see a particular ideology influencing and determining a writer's consciousness as also the way in which that consciousness shapes characters, voices, responses and situations in a literary work. An alert reading of literature is sure to grasp the broadly political function of an ideology.

Who is the founder of ideology? ›

The word ideology was coined by Count Antoine Destutt de Tracy, a French materialist in the late eighteenth century, to define a "science of ideas." The current usage of the term was, however, originated from Karl Marx.

How do ideologies bring about social change Brainly? ›

Answer: Usually by a combination of fear, anger, resentment, and identifying oneself or one's cause with an ideal. The ideologically motivated revolutionary-types are people who are certain that they and their philosophies are entirely correct.

How does language affect ideology? ›

Language has a crucial role in the ideological process. It is the linking element between individuals' knowledge of the world and their social practices, since it mediates individuals' thought and behaviour.

What are the main ideologies? ›

  • Anarchism (kinds of ideologies)
  • Communism.
  • Conservatism.
  • Environmentalism.
  • Fascism.
  • Feminism and identity politics.

What is ideology according to Karl Marx? ›

The Marxist concept of ideology is a word to describe a set of ideas and beliefs that are dominant in society and are used to justify the power and privilege of the ruling class.

What is your ideology in life? ›

Abstract. Personal ideology is an individual's philosophy of how life should be and of what forces influence human living.

What is ideology in simple terms? ›

Definition of ideology

1a : a manner or the content of thinking characteristic of an individual, group, or culture. b : the integrated assertions, theories and aims that constitute a sociopolitical program. c : a systematic body of concepts especially about human life or culture.

What is the theory of ideology? ›

Ideology is a system of concepts and views which serves to make sense of the world while obscuring the social interests that are expressed therein, and by its completeness and relative internal consistency tends to form a closed system and maintain itself in the face of contradictory or inconsistent experience.

How do you say ideology? ›

Break 'Ideology' down into sounds: [EYE] + [DEE] + [OL] + [UH] + [JEE] - say it out loud and exaggerate the sounds until you can consistently produce them.

What is the aim of ideology? ›

The main purpose behind an ideology is to offer either change in society, or adherence to a set of ideals where conformity already exists, through a normative thought process. Ideologies are systems of abstract thought applied to public matters and thus make this concept central to politics.

What is the nature of ideology? ›

ideology, a form of social or political philosophy in which practical elements are as prominent as theoretical ones. It is a system of ideas that aspires both to explain the world and to change it.

What is the role of ideology in society? ›

Ideology is a set of collectively held ideas about society, usually promoted in order to justify a certain type of political action. Ideologies have an explanatory function: they provide explanations for the facts and problems of the social life, so enabling individuals and groups to orientate themselves in society.

When was ideology first used? ›

We meet with the word "ideology" for the first time in 1801 when Destutt de Tracy coined the term "ideologie.

What is government ideology? ›

An ideology is a collection of ideas. Typically, each ideology contains certain ideas on what it considers to be the best form of government (e.g. autocracy or democracy) and the best economic system (e.g. capitalism or socialism). The same word is sometimes used to identify both an ideology and one of its main ideas.

Is religion an ideology? ›

Religions are generally classified as subgroups of ideologies, in that they meet all the requirements and perform similar functions to an ideology, but have unique 'properties' unto themselves.

Which of the following best defines ideology? ›

which of the following best describes the definition of ideology? is the realm of taken-for-granted thoughts and ideas in circulation that reflect the power dynamics at work in a society.

What is an ideological person? ›

Ideological is an adjective that describes political, cultural, or religious beliefs. An ideology is a body of ideas, and those who agree with the main idea of something take an ideological stand to support it.

What is religious ideology? ›

A religious ideology can be defined as a set of ideas that refer to religious and secular tools and accompany political actions and processes in a sustained and systematic way.

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