Paper instructions:
The purpose of this question is to encourage you to consider how scholars understand the concept of ideology and apply the concept to the study of ideas.
The question is asking you to make a judgment about the ways in which the concept ‘ideology’ should be approached. It is not asking you to describe the strengths and weaknesses of a particular ideology.
You might find it useful to think about the purposes that different scholars have had in applying the term: is the term used to classify ideas? to help us understand cultural differences and our own behaviours? to reveal something about existing power structures? to explain the ways in which ideas become habituated and/or change?
Your response to these questions will help you think about the ways in which exponents of any of these approaches have used the concept ‘ideology’ to analyse ideas.
For the discussion of the analysis, you might think about the ways in which scholars of ideology (i) identify or group ideas together (what they look at, what they assume about ‘ideas’) and (ii) the possibilities that the approach has for comparison and evaluation.
The issues you are discussing are issues of method and methodology and we want you to consider how the judgment you make about the approach to the subject will help you assess contemporary political arguments and debates within historical movements.