Assembling: From Concepts to Ideologies

Michael Freeden

in Ideologies and Political Theory

Published in print April 1998 | ISBN: 9780198294146
Published online November 2003 | e-ISBN: 9780191599323 | DOI:
 Assembling: From Concepts to Ideologies

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The previous chapter examined some of the conflicting approaches to the analysis ideology and explored several boundary problems of ideology and philosophy, and in the wake of that examination, this chapter starts in the realization that ideologies are, in terms of their forms and the meanings they contain, relatively untouched. It has been a feature of the ‘black box’ approach to suggest what objects of research can do, even to predict their behaviour accurately, while remaining agnostic as to what they are, and what the inside of the box looks like. That reticence or quiescence often reflects apprehension in the face of the great complexity of both the structure and the mechanisms assumed to prevail inside the black box. This chapter is an endeavour to open the black box of ideology and assess its contents. There are six sections: (a) Political words and political concepts; (b) Reassessing essential contestability; (c) The morphology of political concepts; (d) Logical and cultural adjacency; (e) The morphology of ideologies; and (f) The escape from strong relativism.

Keywords: assessment; contestability; ideological morphology; ideology; political concepts; relativism

Chapter.  20686 words. 

Subjects: Political Theory

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