Political Ideology and Political Theory: Reflections on an Awkward Partnership

Andrew Vincent

in Liberalism as Ideology

Published in print February 2012 | ISBN: 9780199600670
Published online May 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780191738203 | DOI:
Political Ideology and Political Theory: Reflections on an Awkward Partnership

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Two concepts figure continuously in writings on politics from the late nineteenth century to the present day: ideology and political theory. Their relation is complex and unresolved. In common usage, occasionally one of these concepts will dominate in political discourse—often half-consciously presupposing an understanding of the other. Ideology is probably the more promiscuous of the conceptual duo. This chapter does not aim to provide any comprehensive conceptual genealogy of the terms. Rather, it focuses on the relationship between them. It is the core argument of this chapter that this relationship has not really been clearly delineated in any systematic manner before. Sometimes the terms are taken as synonyms, at other points they subsist as mortal conceptual enemies. However, they continue to subsist as deeply averse bedfellows. The chapter provides a systematic overview of this relationship and argues ultimately for a more positive segregation of the concepts.

Keywords: ideology; political theory; political discourse; conceptual genealogy

Chapter.  8416 words. 

Subjects: Political Theory

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