THE IDEOLOGICAL CONNECTION Or, Smuggling in the Goods, Part II

Nelson, John S.
December 1977
Theory & Society;Winter77, Vol. 4 Issue 4, p573
Academic Journal
The article focuses on the concept of ideologicalness. The conception of political ideology as political theory has been well expressed as a group discovers a common purpose in seeking it overcome a common problem. Clearly this conception treats ideologies more as constants than as variables. Some authors, make a pre-empirical assumption that "ideologicalness" is a variable. For other authors, "ideologicalness'' is definition presumed to be a constant. Both schools of thought are respectable, and since the issue between them is definitional rather than genuinely theoretical or empirical, it is not one easily settled or even debated. In the everyday language of social science the term "ideology" is used both ways, and both usages have appropriate historical pedigrees. There are a few instances in which a pattern of beliefs may be accounted non-ideological simply because it is in principle impossible for that pattern to manifest "ideological constraint." Almost all learn routinely coherent "packages" of beliefs. Socialization, if nothing else, practically guarantees a modicum of coherence among a significant part of each individual's political beliefs. Because all conceivably coherent patterns of beliefs must be treated as ideological, the Converse approach without reliance on the illicit criterion of logical constraint must find most people to be at least to some degree "ideological'' in the sense of having potentially coherent beliefs about some political phenomena.


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