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UBC Theses and Dissertations

Two concepts of ideology Taft, George Roger


There are two major conceptions of ideology, a liberal and a Marxist notion. The liberal concept of ideology variously claims that ideology is a highly integrated value system, a confusion of value for fact, a result of intellectuals in politics, and/or a result of strain. However, when examined closely these arguments are either fallacious, ad hominem, or of such a general notion as to equate ideology with social philosophy. Thus the utility of liberal notions of ideology for social analysis is severely limited: it is primarily a means to discount the arguments of one's opponents. The Marxist notion of ideology views ideology as the ruling ideas or "false consciousness" a ruling class fosters to help perpetuate its dominance. As such this concept of ideology focuses on the materialistic origins, propagation and acceptance of ideas. Thus Marx's notion of ideology is more useful than the liberal notion because it calls for investigation of legitimation, mass media, education, religion as significant factors in building and perpetuating a political regime.

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