Authors: Bobbio, Matteucci, Pasquino
Summary: The entry focuses on Bobbio's distinction between the "strong" and "weak" senses of ideology. In its weak sense, ideology is a group of ideals and values articulating some political order, serving to guide collective political actions. In its strong sense, as in Marx's thought, ideology is a false consciousness-specifically, a false understanding of the relations of domination between classes. The entry departs from most treatments of the term by seeing both senses of the term as valid, and analyzing both of them.
With regard to the weak sense of the term, the entry surveys the major theories of Friedrich, Easton, Brzezinski, Moore, Lane, Shils, Sartori, and Putnam. It then revisits the "end-of-ideology" debate that dates to the 1950s. The entry argues that in the past twenty years ideological extremism has declined, and that accompanying this there has also occurred a decline in the emotional intensity with which ideological aims are pursued.
With regard to the strong sense of the term, the entry takes up the Marxist concept of false consciousness. Marx argued that for both the ruling class and the exploited class, short-term interests explain the acceptance of a common ideological justification of power. This ideology disguises both the ruling class's pursuit of its own interests, and the exploited class's fear of sanctions.
The entry ends by noting various definitions of the falsity of ideology-false representation, false presentation, and false motivation. The entry rejects the first two, but accepts the last one.