3
The Marxist Tradition

As the nineteenth century turned into the twentieth, Marx's ideas became systematized into the doctrine of a mass movement which meant that the evolution of the Marxist concept of ideology became subject to political factors. It should also be remembered that Marx's The German Ideology, where he dealt at great length with ideology, was not published until the mid-1920s. During this period there were three major developments in the Marxist treatment of ideology. First, in the Marxism of the Second International, the simplification of Marx's ideas into a general doctrine of economic determinism tended to bring the equation of ideology and false consciousness to the fore. Second – and in strong contrast with Lenin – the concept of ideology was stripped of its negative connotations and the idea of a socialist or Marxist ideology emerged. Third, with the failure of the revolutionary movement to develop adequately in the West, there was a growing impression that ideology might be a more powerful and independent force than had hitherto been imagined and consequently more attention and respect was paid to it among Western Marxists such as Gramsci and Althusser.

The systematization and vulgarization (in the best sense of the word) of Marx's theories was achieved above all by Engels. He alluded to ideology much more than did Marx (apart from The German Ideology), but in the context of general discussions of philosophy and history rather than as a foil for specific analyses. It is in his attempts to clarify the materialist conception of history that Engels most frequently mentions ideology. In a famous series of letters written in the late 1890s, he separated out economic, political

-19-

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Ideology
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Concepts in the Social Sciences *
  • Title Page *
  • Contents *
  • Preface *
  • Preface to the Second Edition *
  • 1: The Career of a Concept 1
  • 2: Marx 9
  • 3: The Marxist Tradition 19
  • 4: The Non-Marxist Tradition 31
  • 5: Ideology in the United States 44
  • 6: Science, Language and Ideology 56
  • 7: Ideology and the 'End of History' 71
  • 8: Conclusion 80
  • Notes 84
  • Further Reading 94
  • Bibliography 100
  • Index 109
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