Revision of the Sociological Discourse of Ideology in a Definitive Perspective

Keywords: ideology, consciousness, reality, practice, systematization, definition


The subject of the paper is sociological theorizing about the concept of «ideology». The results of this theorizing, which is represented by disparate author's approaches, are not systematized in modern sociology. Therefore, in sociology there is no universal theoretical basis and tools for the study of ideologies. As a result, ideology is pushed beyond sociological focus. We systematize the main sociological approaches to under­standing ideology in order to formulate on their basis a universal sociological definition of ideology. We distinguish three conditional blocks of sociological approaches to understanding ideology according to the criterion of the origin of ideology. The first block is concepts in which ideology is presented as an artificial construct, purposefully used for political and managerial purposes. The second block is the concepts according to which ideology grows out of a group lifestyle as a living social phenomenon. The third block consists of approaches that combine both options to varying degrees. These approaches allow both the natural social emergence of ideology and its construction as an instrument of influence and control. The generalization and systematization of the approaches considered gives us the foundation for formulating the following definition of ideology. Ideology is the unity of judgments and practices, which reinforces the non-alternativeness of judgment and declares the invariance of practice; while judgment and practice are inter­dependent. We refuse to recognize the ideology as «false» or «wrong» about reality. We affirm that the distortion of reality by ideology is of the same nature as in any other form of social consciousness. It is due to the imperfection of the human senses, which give consciousness information about the material world. At the same time, ideology is twofold: as a reflection of reality, it is part of it, just as consciousness is part of reality. The dual nature of ideology makes sense the denial of ideology and actualizes criticism of ideology as revealing its disguised impact on the social order and processes.


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