Chapter

Introduction

Michael Freeden

in Ideologies and Political Theory

Published in print April 1998 | ISBN: 9780198294146
Published online November 2003 | e-ISBN: 9780191599323 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/019829414X.003.0001
 Introduction

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Makes clear its central aim—which is to challenge the predominant attitudes to ideologies and their scholarly analysis. It emphasises that the thinking encapsulated in ideologies deserves examination in its own right, and should no longer be pigeon‐holed as an impoverished and inferior relation of analytical and normative political philosophies. Proceeding from the political concept as the unit of analysis in political thought, the main thesis of the book is that ideologies are distinctive configurations of political concepts, and that they create specific conceptual patterns from a pool of indeterminate and unlimited combinations; that indeterminate range is the product of the essential contestability of political concepts. It is a parallel thesis that the furtherance of understanding of political thinking will be best assisted by comprehending political concepts as obtaining meaning on three dimensions—time, space, and the morphology of their interlinkages—and that these have to be integrated in an overarching analytical perspective. While the first two dimensions are commonly used in interpreting political thought, the third is not, and is a special aspect of the approach offered in the book; this perspective is considered by the author to be long overdue.

Keywords: ideological analysis; ideological morphology; ideology; political concepts; political philosophy; political thought

Chapter.  3585 words. 

Subjects: Political Theory

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