Ideology In Politics

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Ideologies are often believed to be less relevant in nowadays post-modern society. After clarifying the concept of ideology, the essay will explain the reasons why ideology seems to be less important – however, the essay will also argue that ideology is still crucial in today’s political world. First, it will be shown that the rise of nationalist rhetoric, especially in the ex-Soviet bloc, is a clear indication that the withdrawal of an ideology – as Marxism-Leninism – does not mean the end of the ideological struggle. Furthermore, the essay will discuss the role of dissent and show that protest movements are still significantly present in today’s political debate. Finally, the essay will argue that ideologies are a vital feature in political…show more content…
135). It is important to stress here the difference between political theory and ideology, even if they may overlap and relate to each other. Political theory uses specialist language and is aimed to provide a toolbox to explain or model politics, whereas ideologies are constructed to generate popular appeal and are more concerned with the impact of political ideas (Smith, 2005, pp. 123, 142). Political theory has been and is still the object of profound debates – a contemporary work, for instance, is John Rawls’ A Theory of Justice, in which Rawls develops a variant of the social contract theory and criticises utilitarians for risking the happiness of the few for an increase in happiness of the many (Middleton, 2005, pp. 103). Ideologies, for their part, are often believed to be less vivid and less relevant in nowadays post-modern society. The end of the Cold War led Francis Fukuyama, an American political scientist, to articulate a controversial theory in his book The End of History and…show more content…
The break-up of Yugoslavia in the 1990s, for instance, was the backdrop of concurrent nationalist ideologies erupting in violence. Albanian protests led Serbian leader Slobodan Milosevic to tighten his grasp on Kosovo, resorting to bloody repression, compelling NATO to intervene in 1999 by launching a bombing campaign. Serb nationalists regarded Kosovo as the cradle of Serbia, despite its overwhelming ethnic Albanian majority: they ‘have defined who they are as a nation, as a culture, as a people, based on the myth of Kosovo’ (Kirka, 2008). As pointed by Georges Sorel, ideological myths are very effective as ‘a means of acting on the present’ (Sorel, 2004 [1908], p. 126). According to Michael Freeden, the core structure of nationalism is the prioritisation and positive valorisation of a particular group (the nation), a sense of belonging in which emotion plays an important role, and the desire to give politico-institutional expression to it (Saward, 2005, pp. 50-51). Nationalism is thus clearly a political ideology, aiming to generate popular appeal through a mythicized idea of the homeland – but it is also quite different from classical left-right ideologies (as socialism, liberalism or conservatism), as it is concerned with creating or maintaining the very political unit that the left-right ideologies need to play their trade (Saward, 2005, p. 50). It is
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