1.imaginary or visionary theorization
2.an orientation that characterizes the thinking of a group or nation
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Achievement ideology • Anarcho-punk Ideology • Beliefs and ideology of Osama bin Laden • Big Stick ideology • Californian Ideology • Communist ideology • Communitarianism (ideology) • Council of Islamic Ideology • Critique of ideology • Dominant ideology • Economic ideology • Fascism and ideology • Ho Chi Minh Ideology • Ideology of Hezbollah • Ideology of Soviet Communism • Ideology of Tintin • Ideology of the Iranian Revolution • Kemalist ideology • Language ideology • Legitimating ideology • List of political parties by ideology • OI Punk ideology • Quebec federalist ideology • Socialist ideology • Systematic ideology • The End of Ideology • The German Ideology • The Sublime Object of Ideology • The Völkisch Ideology and the Roots of Nazism • The ideology of Tintin
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An ideology is a set of ideas that constitute one's goals, expectations, and actions. An ideology can be thought of as a comprehensive vision, as a way of looking at things (compare worldview), as in several philosophical tendencies (see political ideologies), or a set of ideas proposed by the dominant class of a society to all members of this society (a "received consciousness" or product of socialization). 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. Implicitly every political or economic tendency entails an ideology whether or not it is propounded as an explicit system of thought. It is how society sees things.
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The term "ideology" was born in the highly controversial philosophical and political debates and fights of the French Revolution and acquired several other meanings from the early days of the First French Empire to the present. The word was coined by Destutt de Tracy in 1796, assembling the parts idea (near to the Lockean sense) and -logy. He used it to refer to one aspect of his "science of ideas" (to the study itself, not the subject of the study). He separated three aspects, namely: ideology, general grammar, and logic, considering respectively the subject, the means, and the reason of this science. He argues that among these aspects ideology is the most generic term, because the science of ideas also contains the study of their expression and deduction.
According to Karl Mannheim's historical reconstruction of the shifts in the meaning of ideology, the modern meaning of the word was born when Napoleon Bonaparte (as a politician) used it in an abusive way against "the ideologues" (a group which included Cabanis, Condorcet, Constant, Daunou, Say, Madame de Staël, and Tracy), to express the pettiness of his (liberal republican) political opponents.
Perhaps the most accessible source for the near-original meaning of ideology is Hippolyte Taine's work on the Ancien Regime (the first volume of "Origins of Contemporary France"). He describes ideology as rather like teaching philosophy by the Socratic method, but without extending the vocabulary beyond what the general reader already possessed, and without the examples from observation that practical science would require. Taine identifies it not just with Destutt De Tracy, but also with his milieu, and includes Condillac as one of its precursors. (Tracy read the works of Locke and Condillac while he was imprisoned during the Reign of Terror.)
The word "ideology" was coined long before the Russians coined "intelligentsia", or before the adjective "intellectual" referred to a sort of person (see substantive), i.e. an intellectual. Thus these words were not around when the hard-headed, driven Napoleon Bonaparte took the word "ideologues" to ridicule his intellectual opponents. Gradually, however, the term "ideology" has dropped some of its pejorative sting, and has become a neutral term in the analysis of differing political opinions and views of social groups. While Karl Marx situated the term within class struggle and domination, others believed it was a necessary part of institutional functioning and social integration.
Meta-ideology is the study of the structure, form, and manifestation of ideologies. Meta-ideology posits that ideology is a coherent system of ideas, relying upon a few basic assumptions about reality that may or may not have any factual basis, but are subjective choices that serve as the seed around which further thought grows. According to this perspective, ideologies are neither right nor wrong, but only a relativistic intellectual strategy for categorizing the world. The pluses and minuses of ideology range from the vigor and fervor of true believers to ideological infallibility. Excessive need for certitude lurks at fundamentalist levels in politics and religions.
The works of George Walford and Harold Walsby, done under the heading of systematic ideology, are attempts to explore the relationships between ideology and social systems. Charles Blattberg has offered an account which distinguishes political ideologies from political philosophies.
David W. Minar describes six different ways in which the word "ideology" has been used:
For Willard A. Mullins, an ideology is composed of four basic characteristics:
Mullins emphasizes that an ideology should be contrasted with the related (but different) issues of utopia and historical myth.
The German philosopher Christian Duncker called for a "critical reflection of the ideology concept" (2006). In his work, he strove to bring the concept of ideology into the foreground, as well as the closely connected concerns of epistemology and history. In this work, the term ideology is defined in terms of a system of presentations that explicitly or implicitly claim to absolute truth.
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In the Marxist economic base and superstructure model of society, base denotes the relations of production, and superstructure denotes the dominant ideology (religious, legal, political systems). The economic base of production determines the political superstructure of a society. Ruling class-interests determine the superstructure and the nature of the justifying ideology—actions feasible because the ruling class control the means of production. For example, in a feudal mode of production, religious ideology is the most prominent aspect of the superstructure, while in capitalist formations, ideologies such as liberalism and social democracy dominate. Hence the great importance of the ideology justifying a society; it politically confuses the alienated groups of society via false consciousness, such as in the case of commodity fetishism—the belief that value is inherent to a commodity, rather than external, added to it via labor.
The ruling class affect their social reproduction by the dominant ideology's representing—to every social-economic class—that the economic interests of the ruling class are the economic interests of the entire society. Some explanations have been presented. György Lukács proposes ideology as a projection of the class consciousness of the ruling class. Antonio Gramsci uses cultural hegemony to explain why the working-class have a false ideological conception of what are their best interests.
Chronologically, the dominant ideologies in Capitalism are:
corresponding to these three capitalist stages of development:
The Marxist formulation of "ideology as an instrument of social reproduction" is conceptually important to the sociology of knowledge, viz. Karl Mannheim, Daniel Bell, and Jürgen Habermas et al. Moreover, Mannheim has developed, and progressed, from the "total" but "special" Marxist conception of ideology to a "general" and "total" ideological conception acknowledging that all ideology (including Marxism) resulted from social life, an idea developed by the sociologist Pierre Bourdieu.
Louis Althusser proposed a materialistic conception of ideology, which made use of a special type of discourse: the lacunar discourse. A number of propositions, which are never untrue, suggest a number of other propositions, which are. In this way, the essence of the lacunar discourse is what is not told (but is suggested).
For example, the statement "All are equal before the law," which is a theoretical groundwork of current legal systems, suggests that all people may be of equal worth or have equal "opportunities". This is not true, for the concept of private property and power over the means of production results in some people being able to own more (much more) than others. This power disparity contradicts the claim that all share both practical worth and future opportunity equally; for example, the rich can afford better legal representation, which practically privileges them before the law.
Althusser also proffered the concept of the Ideological State Apparatus to explain his theory of ideology. His first thesis was "ideology has no history": while individual ideologies have histories, interleaved with the general class struggle of society, the general form of ideology is external to history. His second thesis, "Ideas are material", explains his materialistic attitude, which he illustrates with the "scandalous advice" of Pascal toward unbelievers: "kneel and pray, and then you will believe". For Althusser, beliefs and ideas are the products of social practices, not the reverse. What is ultimately important for Althusser are not the subjective beliefs held in the "minds" of human individuals, but rather the material institutions, rituals, and discourses that produce these beliefs.
Naturalizing socially constructed patterns of behavior has always been an important mechanism in the production and reproduction of ideologies. Feminist theorists have paid close attention to these mechanisms. Adrienne Rich, for example, has shown how to understand motherhood as a social institution. However, feminism is not a homogeneous whole, and some corners of feminist thought criticize the critique of social constructionism, by advocating that it disregards too much of human nature and natural tendencies. The debate, they say, is about the normative/naturalistic fallacy—the idea that just something "being" natural does not necessarily mean it "ought" to be the case.
Many political parties base their political action and program on an ideology. In social studies, a Political Ideology is a certain ethical set of ideals, principles, doctrines, myths, or symbols of a social movement, institution, class, or large group that explains how society should work, and offers some political and cultural blueprint for a certain social order. A political ideology largely concerns itself with how to allocate power and to what ends it should be used. Some parties follow a certain ideology very closely, while others may take broad inspiration from a group of related ideologies without specifically embracing any one of them.
Political ideologies have two dimensions:
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. democracy, theocracy, caliphate etc.), and the best economic system (e.g. capitalism, socialism, etc.). Sometimes the same word is used to identify both an ideology and one of its main ideas. For instance, "socialism" may refer to an economic system, or it may refer to an ideology which supports that economic system.
Ideologies also identify themselves by their position on the political spectrum (such as the left, the center or the right), though this is very often controversial. Finally, ideologies can be distinguished from political strategies (e.g. populism) and from single issues that a party may be built around (e.g. legalization of marijuana). Philosopher Michael Oakeshott provides a good definition of ideology as "the formalized abridgment of the supposed sub-stratum of the rational truth contained in the tradition."
Studies of the concept of ideology itself (rather than specific ideologies) have been carried out under the name of systematic ideology.
Political ideologies are concerned with many different aspects of a society, some of which are: the economy, education, health care, labor law, criminal law, the justice system, the provision of social security and social welfare, trade, the environment, minors, immigration, race, use of the military, patriotism, and established religion.
There are many proposed methods for the classification of political ideologies. See the political spectrum article for a more in-depth discussion of these different methods (each of whom generates a specific political spectrum).
Today, many commentators claim that we are living in a post-ideological age, in which redemptive, all-encompassing ideologies have failed, and this is often associated with Francis Fukuyama's writings on "the end of history".
LANGUAGE & IDEOLOGY Andrew Goatly, the contemporary cognitive scholar, reminds us in his 'Washing the Brain' (2007) that ideologies are always maintained in language. Resisting ideolologies involves resisting the conceptual metaphors which an ideology adopts and imposes upon us, Goatly argues, following George Lakoff and his critique of conceptual metaphors in contemporary politics. But does ideology take root in language or in languages? James W. Underhill, in 'Creating Worldviews: ideology, metaphor & language' (2011, Edinburgh UP) investigates the way ideologies encrust within different languages, harnessing key concepts such as 'the people' and 'struggle' and 'history'. But he also demonstrates the way Czechs resisted the conceptual constraints being foisted upon them, and the way Germans resisted the Hitlerdeutsch being promoted by the fascists. These studies are revealing in that they show that ideologies must take root within the worldview of the language, but, at the same time, individuals resist the appropriation of concepts and the new emerging patterns of thought by thinking, speaking and writing. Propaganda belongs to the Party and the State, but, to a large extent, the language always belongs to the people. Underhill's multilingual studies of key concepts, truth, love, hate & war, (in 'Ethnolinguistics & Cultural Concepts', Cambridge UP 2012) investigate the uniqueness of each of these concepts in different languages (English, French, German and Czech). These studies also trace the ways in which ideological discourse spreads to other languages via translation (see the spread of neoconservative worldview and the discourse of the War on Terror).
A special case of science adopted as ideology is that of ecology, which studies the relationships among living things on Earth. Perceptual psychologist James J. Gibson believed that human perception of ecological relationships was the basis of self-awareness and cognition itself. Linguist George Lakoff has proposed a cognitive science of mathematics wherein even the most fundamental ideas of arithmetic would be seen as consequences or products of human perception—which is itself necessarily evolved within an ecology.
Some accuse ecological economics of likewise turning scientific theory into political economy, although theses in that science can often be tested. The modern practice of green economics fuses both approaches and seems to be part science, part ideology.
This is far from the only theory of economics to be raised to ideology status—some notable economically based ideologies include mercantilism, mixed economy, social Darwinism, communism, laissez-faire economics, and free trade. There are also current theories of safe trade and fair trade which can be seen as ideologies.
Psychological research increasingly suggests that ideologies reflect motivational processes, as opposed to the view that political convictions always reflect independent and unbiased thinking. Research in 2008 proposed that ideologies may function as prepackaged units of interpretation that spread because of basic human motives to understand the world, avoid existential threat, and maintain valued interpersonal relationships. The authors conclude that such motives may lead disproportionately to the adoption of system-justifying worldviews. Psychologists have generally found that personality traits, individual difference variables, needs, and ideological beliefs seem to have a common thread.
According to the semiotician Bob Hodge, ideology "identifies a unitary object that incorporates complex sets of meanings with the social agents and processes that produced them. No other term captures this object as well as 'ideology'. Foucault's 'episteme' is too narrow and abstract, not social enough. His 'discourse', popular because it covers some of ideology's terrain with less baggage, is too confined to verbal systems. 'Worldview' is too metaphysical, 'propaganda' too loaded. Despite or because of its contradictions, 'ideology' still plays a key role in semiotics oriented to social, political life". Authors such as Michael Freeden have also recently incorporated a semantic analysis to the study of ideologies.
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