Ideology and Utopia: An Introduction to the Sociology of Knowledge

By Karl Mannheim | Go to book overview

II. IDEOLOGY AND UTOPIA

1. DEFINITION OF CONCEPTS

In order to understand the present situation of thought, it is necessary to start with the problems of "ideology". For most people, the term "ideology" is closely bound up with Marxism, and their reactions to the term are largely determined by the association. It is therefore first necessary to state that although Marxism contributed a great deal to the original statement of the problem, both the word and its meaning go farther back in history than Marxism, and ever since its time new meanings of the word have emerged, which have taken shape independently of it.

There is no better introduction to the problem than the analysis of the meaning of the term "ideology": firstly we have to disentangle all the different shades of meaning which are blended here into a pseudo-unity, and a more precise statement of the variations in the meanings of the concept, as it is used to-day, will prepare the way for its sociological and historical analysis. Such an analysis will show that in general there are two distinct and separable meanings of the term "ideology"--the particular and the total.

The particular conception of ideology is implied when the term denotes that we are sceptical of the ideas and representations advanced by our opponent. They are regarded as more or less conscious disguises of the real nature of a situation, the true recognition of which would not be in accord with his interests. These distortions range all the way from conscious lies to half- conscious and unwitting disguises; from calculated attempts to dupe others to self-deception. This conception of ideology, which has only gradually become differentiated from the common- sense notion of the lie is particular in several senses. Its particularity becomes evident when it is contrasted with the more inclusive total conception of ideology. Here we refer to the ideology of an age or of a concrete historico-social group, e.g. of a class, when we are concerned with the characteristics

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Ideology and Utopia: An Introduction to the Sociology of Knowledge
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page iii
  • Table of Contents vii
  • Foreword xi
  • Preface xiii
  • I. Preliminary Approach to the Problem 1
  • Ii. Ideology and Utopia 49
  • Iii. the Prospects of Scientific Politics: the Relationship Between Social Theory and Political Practice 97
  • Iv. the Utopian Mentality 173
  • V. the Sociology of Knowledge 237
  • Bibliography 281
  • Index 305
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