8
Conclusion:
An End to Ideology
or Ideology
Without End?

As we have seen in the foregoing chapters, the discussion of ideology over the last two centuries has divided into two different approaches. In the first, the dominant contrast is between ideology and science. In the French rationalist tradition of de Tracy the application of reason to society would rid society of the irrational prejudices that had been so noxious in the past: the science of ideas (ideo-logy) would demystify society just as natural science had demystified nature. With a little help from Marx (and Napoleon), ideology then became associated with those ideas that were contrasted with science – as in the work of Durkheim or Althusser. The same science/ideology dichotomy is present in the strongly empiricist English-speaking tradition. The difference between the two lies in their opposing conceptions of what constitutes the science that excludes ideology: in the work of Althusser, for example, it is Marxism itself (and possibly psychoanalysis) which is that science. For Popper, on the other hand, both are the supreme examples of pseudo-Archimedian sciences. In the second tradition, often called historicist and associated with German writing, the search for a foothold has been strongly relativized. The problems of studying society were seen as radically different from those of studying nature. Ideology was connected with sectional interests, with social perspectives from which it was impossible completely to escape. Various more or less Olympian viewpoints were proposed

-80-

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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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