The SAGE Handbook of Political Sociology offers a comprehensive and contemporary look at this evolving field of study. The focus is on political life itself and the chapters, written by a highly-respected and international team of authors, cover the core themes which need to be understood in order to study political life from a sociological perspective, or simply to understand the political world. The two volumes are structured around five key areas: PART 1: TRADITIONS AND PERSPECTIVES PART 2: CORE CONCEPTS PART 03: POLITICAL IDEOLOGIES AND MOVEMENTS PART 04: TOPICS PART 05: WORLD REGIONS This future-oriented and cross-disciplinary handbook is a landmark text for students and scholars interested in the social investigation of politics.
Chapter 27: Ideology
Scholars have long expressed frustration with the notion of ideology. Robert Putnam once contended that ‘few concepts in social analysis have inspired such a flood of commentaries, yet few have stimulated the production of so little cumulative knowledge about society and politics'.1 Richard Rorty rather more bluntly bemoaned ideology's ‘uselessness',2 whilst, in an influential introductory text, David McLellan deemed it ‘the most elusive concept in the whole of social science'.3
Yet ideology remains a hugely popular term across academia. And it is unlikely to be abandoned any time soon, since many of the most urgent contemporary political questions seem deeply bound up with ideological dynamics. Why are various forms of political extremism on the rise, from ...