Ideological Perspectives and Conflicts
Ideologies and ideological conflicts have persisted throughout modern times.1An ideology is a relatively coherent system of ideas (beliefs, traditions, principles, and myths) about human nature, institutional arrange- ments, and social processes held by individuals and groups in society. Deriving from many sources, including common sense, interpretations of daily expe- riences, and elaborate intellectual doctrines, accepted ideologies change as a society grows and develops. Ideological fervor intensifies during crises and turbulent times, when people need help to cope with confusing circum- stances. Ideologies, which interpret the relationship between the individual and society, can provide this help.
When some people hear the word ideology, they think of rigid ideas, biased thinking, or simplistic notions. A closer look reveals ideology to be fluid, contested, and complex. First, ideologies inhabit both individual belief sys- tems and wider social values, both of which also interact. Not only do in- dividual beliefs affect social values and vice versa, but people regularly contest social values either individually or collectively. Second, ideology refers to more than one school of thought. One ideology or set of social values tends to prevail at any one moment in time; supporting the status quo, it tends to