Political Ideologies: A Comparative Approach

By Mostafa Rejai | Go to book overview
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Preface

This book has three interrelated objectives. First, it sets out to develop a framework for the comparative analysis of political ideologies. Second, it examines some of the most prominent political ideologies of our time. Finally, it applies the framework to the ideologies discussed.

The first task is undertaken in Part I (chapter 1), wherein five interconnected dimensions, or components, of ideologies are identified and elaborated. These are the cognitive, the affective, the evaluative, the programmatic, and the social-base dimensions. Chapter I also briefly discusses Marx's influential conception of ideology, the rise of ideologies, and the functions they perform.

The second task is the subject of Part II (chapters 2 through 7). There, six ideologies are analyzed and evaluated. As is readily apparent, I am highly selective about the ideologies I treat. Rather than bombard the reader with a dozen or more ideologies, I have chosen the six most significant or explosive political ideologies of the nineteenth and twentieth centuries: nationalism, fascism/nazism, Marxism, Leninism, guerrilla communism (in China, Vietnam, and Cuba), and democracy. (The ideologies of democratic socialism, democratic capitalism, liberalism, and conservatism are briefly discussed in the chapters on Marxism and democracy.) In all instances, I should make explicit, I am interested in analyzing and understanding political ideologies as ideologies and not in the politics or governments of the countries in which these political doctrines may be found. Each of the ideology chapters closes with an analysis of the particular ideology in terms of the analytical framework presented in chapter 1.

I return to this matter, the third objective, in Part III (chapter 8),

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