Dictionnaire de la Science Politique

Authors: Hermet, Badie, Birnbaum & Braud
Summary: This entry, in about 310 words, starts with the history of the concept. The authors state that the concept appears for the first time during the French revolution, but it was soon criticized because it was discretional and subjective, whereas the positivistic ideal was suggesting studying the facts on the base of a scientific observation of reality. Another kind of critics was based on the relation with the Marxism, in the defence of particular social classes: it is difficult to find an autonomous field for ideology; it is very often associated with the Marxism.
In this sense of social classes defence, the concept has been also criticized by the elitist (Pareto and Mosca) because it becomes the way in which the political class justify its power.
Today, the debate is more on the decline of ideologies in industrial societies. The authors disagree with this idea of increasing technocracy; they think ideologies are still persistent, but they are no longer closed systems, they change somehow their shape.