Conceptual Structure and Social Change: The Ideological Architecture of Democratization

By Sara Schatz; Javier Jesús Gutiérrez-Rexach | Go to book overview

Conclusions

The study of ideological change presents numerous challenges and opportunities for the social scientist. On the one hand, change is deeply rooted in sociopolitical processes of a socioeconomic nature. On the other hand, in the interaction that arises among the competing forces in a political scenario, different ideas, cultures, and even personalities also have a critical role in ideological and political change. This “micro-macro” connection, using the terminology in fashion during the eighties and nineties, constitutes an unavoidable intersection point for any researcher in ideology and ideological processes. Two reductionist solutions to this problem are well known: the “macro” solution focuses on the social bases of ideological processes, which are viewed as suprastructural phenomena reducible to socioeconomic parameters; the “micro” solution pays attention to individual initiatives, strategies, and historical developments, disentangling the social puzzle into its constituting elements. A third approach, which is partially or completely neglected not only by these two solutions but also by theories of culture or alternatives exploring the micro-macro link, pays attention to the cognitive dynamics underlying ideological change. Ideology, in the end, is rooted to its etymological and original sense: a system of ideas. Ideas are neither exclusively individual nor exclusively social in nature. They are “hosted” by the human mind, and subject to processes of concept formation and manipulation well known by psychologists and cognitive scientists in general. Nevertheless, ideas are constituents of complex ideologies properly ascribed to groups of very

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Conceptual Structure and Social Change: The Ideological Architecture of Democratization
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page iii
  • Contents v
  • Introduction vii
  • 1 - Categorization and Social Agents: the Case of Democratization 1
  • 2 - A Cognitive Model of Concepts and Ideology 35
  • Note 86
  • 3 - Ideological Systems, Dynamics, and Constraints 87
  • Notes 112
  • 4 - Mass Attitudes in the Transition to Electoral Democracy 113
  • 5 - Governing Elites, Counterelites, and the Struggle to Shape Mass Opinion 157
  • Conclusions 193
  • Bibliography 197
  • Index 217
  • About the Authors 221
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